Big display of flower power

Daffodil Day comes to Otahuna Lodge near Christchurch this spring.
Daffodil Day comes to Otahuna Lodge near Christchurch this spring. Contributed

THE magnificent Otahuna Lodge will open its doors this spring to thousands of visitors for Daffodil Day, to showcase its stunning gardens and raise money for cancer.

The tradition that began 82 years ago at New Zealand’s largest historic property has been revived to celebrate the magic of these extraordinary gardens in spring, and provide the public with a sneak-peek of the grounds of the luxury seven-suite lodge.

Owners Hall Cannon and Miles Refo rekindled the event in 2006 when they bought the lodge.

The original owner, Parliamentarian Sir Heaton Rhodes and his wife Jessie, established the open day in 1928 at their impressive home in Tai Tapu, 20 minutes from Christchurch, to showcase the gardens designed by AE Lowe, who had trained at London’s magnificent Kew Gardens.

Mr Cannon and Mr Refo undertook an impressive restoration of the 12ha grounds and 1895 homestead, and took great pleasure in reviving what was one of the most important events in the local calendar.

“It really is magnificent when the daffodils bloom on the Great Lawn each spring,” Mr Cannon said.

“We estimate there could be as many as a million bulbs there today. Sir Heaton Rhodes was quite a gardening enthusiast and is credited with establishing one of the first daffodil collections in the country.

“Following the first planting of bulbs in the late 1800s, thousands more have been planted.


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