Perched on the Eastern hills behind Carterton with panoramic views is Tikara Country Gardens. Converting two hectares of farmland over the last nine years has been a labour of love for owners Mary and Bruce McCallum.

Mary is the chief gardener and prides herself on her ability to propagate a variety of roses with absolutely no water. Mulching heavily, she creates a nutrient rich environment for her 250 roses to flourish. These are dotted around her magnolia garden, in remembrance of her mother.

A wedge-shaped formation of 300 Japanese maples connects the upper and lower gardens. En masse, these marching maples are an unusual and unique sight in the Wairarapa.


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At first, Mary was testing the trees to see how they would respond to growing conditions. The sample maples took so well that they are now a stunning and rare feature of Tikara Country Gardens.

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Another stand out feature is Mary’s 90 metre long arctotis (African daisy) bund. Designed to lift the prevailing wind up and over her delicate dahlias and roses, the arctotis bund offers a riot of bold colour when it flowers in September and November.

A mini bushwalk through a pocket of natives, and a productive vege garden in raised beds provide further places to explore.

We’re delighted that Mary and Bruce have chosen Pukaha’s Wairarapa Garden Tour to open Tikara Country Gardens to the public for the first time.