Sat-A Salt River & Second Nature

Salt River Gardens, Parakai owned by Helen Smyth, is a 6.2 hectare botanical delight full of edible and ornamental plants. Originally called Nestlebrae, the gardens were developed over 25 years by Rosemary Steele and John Prince. Rosemary and John collected and imported many specialist species as well as developing new hybrids.

In October 2013 the property was bought by Tim Rose and Helen Smyth and renamed Salt River Gardens. The name references the location – we are at South Head, the base of the magnificent Kaipara Harbour, which is known for its many salt-river estuaries.

At Salt River Gardens we grow about 40 different varieties of fruit with a distinct emphasis on fruits of the Americas, several of which are rarely available in New Zealand. These include cherimoyas, casimiroas, asiminas and jaboticabas. We have an amazing banana collection too.

The property has a licensed commercial kitchen and packhouse. We sell our fruit at Farro Fresh and process seconds into jellies, jams and chutneys under our Salt River label. Our focus for this is rare or classic flavours.

Salt River Gardens is not organic certified but we don’t use any poisons or sprays on our fruiting trees. We have a large flock of truly free-range chickens and several beehives, essential to pollination.

Second Nature, Te Atatu owned by Chris Ballantyne, a productive home garden plus a beautiful garden which is also a disguised nursery for a commercial business.