“If you think of gardening as an art form, I think it’s (Ayrlies) the best expression of that art… The whole thing is an experience beyond any other in the country.”

Jack Hobbs, Curator Manager of the Auckland Botanic Gardens The Listener

“Ayrlies is special. It transcends the good taste and horticultural confidence that is typical of so many of Britain’s grand gardens… I have never seen such a wide mixture of plants in one garden and I have never seen colour and plant association handled better. I left elated by the scale and vision and dream-like intensity of colour and size.”

Monty Don, British broadcaster and writer Around the World in 80 Gardens - BBC television series and publication

The lush garden along the idyllic coast of New Zealand, Ayrlies, reflects a half-century of taming the landscape with an impeccable eye – and more than a touch of savage beauty.”

Lindsey Taylor, Floral Designer & Garden Writer The Wall Street Journal

“She (Beverley McConnell) is without a doubt the first lady of horticulture in New Zealand, the Vita Sackville-West, Gertrude Jekyll and Rosemary Verey of Down Under…You don’t make a garden this complex and relaxed without discipline.”

Daniel Hinkley, American Plantsman, Garden Writer and Horticulturalist The Wall Street Journal

“The climax for me is the vast constructed wetland that stitches the complex of gardens, pools and walks to the larger context of surrounding farmland, and the Hauraki Gulf in the distance.”

Thomas Woltz, Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects USA The Wall Street Journal

I continue to refer to your book Ayrlies more than any other. It is the perfect illustrated description of a great garden of splendid trees and shrubs in relationship with water…You have designed and made one of New Zealand’s treasures.”

Sir Miles Warren, New Zealand Architect

The Garden

Situated in the gentle rolling country of east Auckland, Ayrlies is one of New Zealand's best known gardens. Characterised by sweeping lawns and informal but detailed plantings by ponds and waterways it has been described as the quintessential New Zealand garden.


The Wetlands

Created in the millennium year this thirty-five acre wetlands celebrated the life of my husband, the late Malcolm McConnell. The eight acre lake is seen from many parts of the garden and in its own way links the garden to the sea. It has become home to many native and visiting wildlife.


Bev McConnell takes NZ Life & Leisure on a tour of the Ayrlies garden

Featured in NZ Life and Leisure magazine. Bev McConnell discusses the Ayrlies garden in Whitford, one of New Zealand’s foremost private gardens.


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