Rhododirect

Rhododirect Gardens

Our History

Craig and Marina Shearer’s beautiful Rhododendron garden is an extension to their cattle farm that boasts natural spring waterways with free draining soils. The property is aptly named Spring Farm which is nestled between the Waiau River and steep, eye-catching clay cliffs that set the colours of the Rhododendrons off when in full bloom.

Here’s Marina’s story:
When we shifted into Spring Cottage after our wedding in 1995 there was only one very ugly yew tree for a garden. Neither Craig nor I was too worried about not getting into the garden, we were young and we didn’t want to have a large garden. I went to work on a small perennial garden. I liked the idea of the cottage garden and filled it with gypsophila, delphiniums, roses and other gorgeous cottage garden plants.

Soon after, we visited a nearby Rhododendron garden and fell in love with these gorgeous plants, many of which were as large as trees. After this visit, we both felt so inspired and began planting trees and rhododendrons. We crossed our fingers and hoped for the best. For five years this kept us busy. Then the time came for us to build a larger home on Spring Farm because our cottage had outgrown our little family of three. Our new home required a new garden. This time we followed a more formal theme and kept our plantings to a limited palette of red, apricot and creams.
Our love of gardening has now grown to over 5 acres of garden. We have two distinctly different gardens – a formal garden and a cottage garden with Rhododendrons being the prominent plant in both. We now open our gates to visitors from all over the country (and sometimes the world) to share our gardens and our established Rhododendron nursery with over 500 different species for sale.

The Gardeners

Owners, Marina and Craig Shearer decided to concentrate on their love of Rhododendrons in their garden,  further to this a Rhododendron nursery was established in 2007. RhodoDirect expanded from gate sales to an online presence to reach others with the same passion. RhodoDirect is now one of New Zealand’s largest online specialist nurseries.  Craig is a carer of all things living, for 30 years he has been caring for sheep and cattle, rhododendrons were just another living thing to tend and nurture.   Marina is most likely the person who will answer the phone when you call and your emails when you write. With over 25 years in customer service, Marina is very passionate about serving people and providing the best service experience.

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Garden Details

Address
232 Rotherham Road, North Canterbury 7379.
Instructions from Christchurch
Take the main road to Amberley, turn left at Waipara towards Hanmer Springs. Drive through Culverden, about 1km out of Culverden is a turn to the right signposted ‘Rotherham’, ‘Waiau’, ‘Kaikoura’. Turn right and as you go around the corner put on your trip meter, we are 17km down this road. The sign at the gate says “Rhodo Direct”. We are the next property after the golf club – if you get to the Waiau Bridge you have gone too far.

Rhododirect Gardens

Frequently Asked Questions

Email
Phone
0800 315 6555 or 027 591 6555
Contact Person
Marina Shearer
Website:
Hours?
RhodoDirect garden is open by appointment throughout the year during Spring hours are advertised on the website.
Garden Size?
The farm is 100ha, with 2ha of rhododendron gardens and nursery.
Brochure Available?
We have a Rhododendron Catalogue available for $25, refundable after a $250 purchase
Parking
We have off street parking for buses and cars.
Toilets
There are public toilets 3 minutes drive from RhodoDirect.  Because of the earthquake, our cottage toilet is no longer operational.
Seating
By arrangement. We can cater for large groups.
Picnics
By arrangement (please contact us to ask first) as it will depend on whether we already have a large group visiting on that day.
Wheelchair Access
The garden is flat but it is hard work pushing a wheelchair around the lawns, hard but not impossible.
Dogs Allowed
Please do NOT bring dogs as this is a working sheep/beef/dairy farm and non working farm dogs are not able to released from the car.
Children Allowed?
Yes, children are very welcome and under 17 they are free.  Please keep a close eye on small children as we have water features and electric fences that are hazards.
Weddings
Not at the moment.
Plants/Other Sales
You can purchase rhododendrons from the largest range of Rhododendrons in the South Island.  Also some deciduous azaleas are also available.

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