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.
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.