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AddressHomebush, RD1 Darfield Mid Canterbury. Homebush is located 56 km's or 45 minutes west of Christchurch. From Christchurch State Highway 73 takes the visitor along the main west road through the small Canterbury towns of West Melton, Kirwee and Darfield. At the end of Darfield turn left onto State Highway 72/77, the Inland Scenic Route. Homebush is 8 km's from Darfield and is well sign-posted. From Arthur's Pass Take State High 73 until pass through Waddington. Take the first road on the right, Deans Road turning right on to Homebush Road. Homebush is sign posted on the right approx 1 km.
Privately owned or publicPrivate
Phone03 318 2785 Cell phone: 027 2709055
Fax03 318 1671
Contact PersonLouise Deans
HoursWe take group bookings by arrangement. It is essential to book before you come.
Garden SizeEight acres of rambling garden and massive trees. Allow 1-2 hours for your visit.
Price$10 per person. Children free.
Brochure Available?Yes we are happy to mail that out to you.
ParkingOff street parking for buses coaches and cars
Food AvailableThe Swingletree Cafe has great character with high beams and polished kauri floor and brick walls and antique tables and chairs. The caterers, “Country Feasts”, provide positively scrumptious morning or afternoon tea and lunch for guests. We can provide morning and afternoon tea for 10 - 300 visitors and a spit roast or barbeque lunch for up to 85 people.
Cafe/Restaurant available?Yes
SeatingThere are many areas around the grounds to sit and enjoy.
PicnicsYes we are happy for you to bring your own picnic.
Wheelchair AccessYes we are wheelchair friendly.
Dogs AllowedNo dogs thank you, please leave them in the car.
Children AllowedYes but adults please supervise.
AccommodationNo, however we are happy to recommend accommodation in the area.
Plant/Other SalesThe Homebush shop is located in the old farm workshop. Chris, who runs the shop, brings in top quality knitwear, sheepskins, crafts and souvenirs. She also knits many of the jerseys herself using the antique method. Of special interest are garments made in the new wool fibre called Possum Merino which is extremely light and warm. There are gifts to take home with you. A postal service is available.
Guided ToursSheep shearing and a working farm dog display are available if required. We can even provide a vintage car display! An integral part of the visit is a talk by our local historian about Homebush and the romantic story of the Deans’ family which includes the settlement of the Canterbury Plains.
Function center?No
Other FacilitiesCheck for details of the other side of our business.
Homebush is a unique tourist destination in Canterbury New Zealand for visitors wanting to experience New Zealand history and culture on many levels.

The museum is housed in different areas of the beautiful brick stables building. There is plenty to interest everyone since the displays cover the full spectrum of country life from early horse drawn machinery, early petrol-driven engines, light industrial, military, sporting and domestic artifacts. Of special interest is the 4 tonne Ruston motor which was used in the coal mine in the hills and the 1905 Originals All Blacks memorabilia of Bob Deans who lived and worked at Homebush.
Also of great interest is the unique water turbine, still in working order, with a patent date of 1863 made in Dayton Ohio and installed at Homebush in 1879..

The farm buildings were built from the 1850's onwards. The woolshed which is visible from the road, the stables, the pigsties, the house and the apple house built out of bricks made at the Homebush Pottery and Tile Works. They are a magnificent legacy to pioneering rural life and are classified in Category One by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.


The Garden

I learnt that the Deans family had been here since 1851 and that each generation had added their contribution. First they planted exotic trees which are now 160 years old and offer a frame for the house.
In the early 1850's a circular orchard of holly was planted as vegetable garden and tree nursery. Then James Deans in the 1920's took Bodnant in North Wales as his model and planted rhodendrons under the secoias, oregans, cedars and thuias. He also bred his own rhodies and named them after members of the family.
I found a very special place under these trees which is called "The Cathedral" and lovely moments have happened in this space.

The Gardener

Am I a gardener? I think that this garden turned me into a gardener rather than me creating the garden. When we came to live at Homebush in 1981 I had four small children, a very large house to look after and no money. For the first years I concentrated on the children, then on the house. By this time the garden was in desperate need of resuscitation and so was I and so we created a partnership, the garden and me. It was something akin to the garden of Heligan then. I wanted to bare it back to its bones to see what the original design was and the vision that lay there somewhere, buried. For twelve years we sawed and hacked and pushed back and back until we began to get a glimpse of the original design. The answer to the question is no, I am not a gardener but I have been given the stewardship of this beautiful garden which has been in the family for 160 years. I have been assisted by experts and professionals who have pointed me in the right direction. I have had to learn about trees and plants, about landscaping and about planting. And about hard work. I always saw myself as a creator rather then a maintainer, but the pleasure has come with knowing my roses and rhodies as old friends. Was it all worth it? A resounding yes because now this is the most beautiful garden in the world!
Click on any image below to enlarge
Spring colour.
The Azalea walk
The copper beech
Terracotta tiles made in 1880.
The old grit grinder.
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