She’s right – it’s amazing!

Wendy Begbie’s iris nursery, which features extensive stock beds of over 1000 varieties, is, she says, a hobby “that got out of control”.


Visitors enjoy the stock beds at the Amazing Iris Garden, south of Katikati. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Wendy has been growing irises for 13 years, the last five at Walford Rd, south of Katikati, and although tall bearded irises are her “mainstay”, the Amazing Iris Garden has expanded to include Siberian, Louisiana and Japanese types.

“It’s the multitude of colours that attracted me to them,” Wendy says of the bearded iris. “You buy one and you keep going – you can’t help yourself.”


The tall bearded iris Batik is a fascinating swirl of blue and white. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Wendy, who is a fulltime sales rep and product manager covering Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Hawkes Bay, employs three part-time staff and opens the garden during flowering each year.

“It’s actually harder leading up to opening because I like to make sure the garden is as pristine as possible – each visitor has the potential to bring in more customers.”


Thornbird has curved beards. Photo: Sandra Simpson

She produces an annual mail-order catalogue, which includes information about care of bearded iris and says the biggest problem in this area is the humidity and high rainfall.

“The rhizomes will rot if they stay wet so plant them above the soil a little bit so they can bake in the sun. They don’t care about the soil type so long as they have good drainage and some air movement around them.”


2 thoughts on “She’s right – it’s amazing!

  1. Sandra,
    Just blown away by the beautiful irises. I grew up in a suburb of Chicago where a neighbor raised irises. We kids were fascinated by the fact that he used his entire property for the flower beds and that he shot rabbits! (cute sweet bunnies!) He named a hybrid iris he developed for his wife, May Hall Iris and was on TV about it. (1950’s)
    Anyway, I also have visited the J Paul Getty gardens in LA and hope you got to see them when you were in CA last summer.
    HI to your wonderful children

  2. Hello Maureen,

    Nice to see you here. Yes, I did get to see both the Getty Villa and the Getty Centre gardens while in LA in August, thanks to our friends from Palm Springs – loved it all, so interesting. If you put “Getty” in the search line of this blog you will find the posts I did on them. We’ve had such a dry October but November has come along with thunder and plenty of rain, hurrah. Everything is suddenly *very* green.

    All the best,

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