Celebrating its 150th Anniversary this year is the Botanic Gardens - that oasis in central Christchurch that showcases one of New Zealand's finest collections of exotic and native plants in a beautiful, peaceful setting. Stroll through the fragrant rose garden, take your children to the impressive playground or enjoy a picnic beside the meandering Avon River. Catch a bus to the Garden gates: visit metroinfo.co.nz for a timetable.
While the homestead isn't open, the Mona Vale gardens and fernery still are. Soak up the peaceful atmosphere amongst the well-loved roses and ferns or take a picnic and make an afternoon of it.
The annual Festival of Flowers has been described as "blooming brilliant" - and you can see why when it bursts into life from 16 February to 3 March. Organised by the Christchurch Garden City Trust, the 2013 festival promises to bring even more colour and beauty to the Botanic Gardens. You won't want to miss the range of floral and environmental art, topiary and the vertical floral garden.
March marks the return of the Ellerslie International Flower Show, featuring more flowers than ever before thanks to its new major sponsor Egmont Seed Company. Held from Wednesday 6 to Sunday 10 March at North Hagley Park, Ellerslie is New Zealand's premier garden event, showcasing the latest gardening trends and wowing visitors with inspirational exhibitions.
Why not cap off your garden experience with a fine meal? Nestled on the edge of the Botanic Gardens, the famed Curator's House reopened in October to the delight of diners all over New Zealand. With a focus on fresh, quality local produce, the Curator's House maintains its own fruit and vegetable garden, which is integrated into the design - and cuisine - of the restaurant. The restaurant is open seven days from 11.30am, with the Coffee Patio open from 10am.