Successful gardening depends on selecting the right plants, putting them in the right place and providing appropriate treatment. At the Gardens, all our plants must perform to a high standard without insecticides and fungicides. Therefore they must have natural attributes that enable them to remain healthy, attractive and productive. The benefits are profound. Less time is required in the garden, success rates are much higher, and it contributes to an overall healthy garden ecosystem abundant with life. Microorganisms invisible to the naked eye comprise the greatest proportion of this life. In healthy soil, the vast majority are beneficial organisms that contribute to garden health and ward off harmful organisms that cause disease.
The Gardens undertake a rigorous trial programme that involves testing plants in Auckland conditions against stringent criteria. We evaluate plant health without sprays, overall appearance, foliage quality, floral abundance and duration, and other attributes that collectively contribute to an outstanding garden subject. Plants must meet a high rating standard before we will include them in our displays or recommend them to the public. Some plants receive an exceptionally high rating, and we identify these as Star Performers, which we recommend in our Plants for Auckland brochures.