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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Botanical Break

On the 25th August, Salem and I had a well earned break between the ballet shows Salem was performing in.  It was early evening and after being around a theatre most of the day, it was really nice to "stop and smell the flowers".
We went to the Lady Norwood Gardens at the Wellington Botanical Gardens and then walked through the Bolton Street Memorial Park.  It was so nice and it definitely blew the cobwebs away.

There were no roses at this time of year but the plantings of beautiful bright poppies more than made up for that.  They were beautiful!!!!
Salem had fun buzzing from one flower to the next pretending to be a bee.  It was a great way for him to un-wind.
Then we slowly walked back into the city through the Boulton Street Park and the smell of the early spring flowers was just devine.  We had a little time to explore and look at some of the very old gravestone which were surrounded by the flowers.
It was a pity we didn't have a lot of time but we were well refreshed to face the rest of the evening.
Just Lovely......

Spring flowers growing on the graves

The Bolton Street Memorial Park

The Bolton Street Memorial Park in central Wellington, right next to the motorway.  It contains the city's original burial ground commonly known previously as Bolton Street Cemetery. It commemorates many early pioneers (1840 - 1892) and important historical figures from the 19th Century.
The Bolton Street Memorial Park, was newly named in 1978, is an excellent example of a colonial cemetery, using imported and local stone, iron and wood. Its iron memorials, wooden tablets, picket fences and wrought iron surrounds are particularly significant and comparatively rare in New Zealand.

It is a peaceful sanctuary of cultivated and forested open space. There are over 1,300 carved and worn monuments are distributed throughout the Park that straddles the motorway. A nationally important collection of heritage roses, some dating from the colonial era, inter-twine with other early plantings amongst picket fences and wrought iron surrounds. It's walkways offer a unique stroll between the city centre and the formal Rose Garden of the Botanic Gardens.

The old chapel there contains exhibits and has a full burial list of the 8,679 people interred in the cemetery. It is situated alongside is the Sexton's Cottage which is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Wellington.

Taking time to smell the flowers

The Wellington Botanic Gardens

At the Wellington Botanic Gardens there is over 26 hectares of unsurpassed views, unique landscape, exotic forests, native bush, colourful floral displays and gorgeous specialist gardens.
You can visit the Duck Pond, Begonia House, award-winning Lady Norwood Rose Garden,  the Treehouse Visitor Information Centre, Sundial of Human Involvement, Children’s Play Area and the historic Bolton Street Memorial Park which is where many of the city's pioneers are buried.
The gardens are open daily from sunrise to sunset. Entry is free and Garden tours are available by prior booking or prior request.

Pretty Poppies

Some history about the Gardens

The Wellington Botanic Gardens are classed as a Garden of National Significance by the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture and is an Historic Places Trust Heritage Area.

In 1844, the New Zealand Company set aside a 5.26 hectare strip of land for a Botanic Garden reserve.  At that time the land was covered in dense podocarp forest including rimu, totara and matai.  The Garden was established in 1868 and managed by the New Zealand Institute. 

Trees growing today on Druid Hill and Magpie Spur grew from seedlings planted at this time, and are some of the oldest exotic trees in New Zealand.

In the 1870s the fledgling garden was boosted with a further 21.85 hectares of reserve.

Wellington City Council has managed the Botanic Garden since 1891.

At the Lady Norwood Rose Garden

Some more history of the Gardens

James Hector was the first director of the Garden, he also held many significant positions from his arrival in Wellington in 1865 including keeper of time, director of the Dominion Museum, founder of the NZ Geological Survey (forerunner of the DSIR)and NZ Institute (forerunner of the Royal Society of NZ).

Albert Kellog was the first to describe the giant Sequoya from America, a number of specimens which are found in the Garden.
He supplied most of the North West American plants imported by James Hector, that became such a feature of this garden, including the commercially important Pinus radiata.

George Vernon Hudson was a teenager when he first came to Wellington, he was the first to describe the life cycle of the native glow worn from specimens found in this Garden. His extensive insect collection eventually became the founding collecton of the Dominion Museum, subsequently Te Papa.
With an interest in astronomy, he wrote many articles on his star gazing in local papers, discovered a star, and was the first proponent of daylight saving. He used the observatory telescopes in the Garden in addition to his own.

Bright cheerful colour while the roses are dormant

The Lady Norwood Rose Garden

The Lady Norwood Rose Garden is one of the most popular features of the Wellington Botanic Garden. 
A rose garden has been a feature of the Garden for a long time. The original occupied the site now featuring the Sound Shell in the Main Garden. In the late 1940's the possibility of establishing a new area featuring roses was suggested, and with the assistance of the Norwood Family, work commenced in 1950, the garden named after Lady Norwood. The area opened in 1953.

The Garden contains some 3200 roses covering over 300 varieties. It includes all main types.

There is also a heritage rose collection of roses from Regency and Victorian times in the adjoining Bollton Street Memorial Park, containing some 300 heritage specimens covering over 80 varieties.

The surrounding pergola was added in 1961. Lady Norwood donated the original fountain in the centre, although the Norwood children gave a replacement in 1977. This is an antique bronze structure, imported from Australia, although originally came from outside a bank in London. It is over 100 years old.

The design of the garden has basically not changed since it was constructed. There are 106 beds, although recently the 4 central beds have been divided into two to allow easier access, so there are now 110 main beds. The Rose Garden Brochure, available in the Begonia House, gives the garden layout, and lists the individual roses in their appropriate beds. # to 4 rose beds are replaced each year, the new roses previously trialed in the test beds located at the rear right of the garden for several years before being selected. Few of the original roses remain; Buccaneer, located in the centre close to the fountain in the north east quadrant, is one of the remaining original specimens.

The main flowering season commences in November and continues until early autumn. The plants are continually 'deadheaded through the flowering season to promote new growth and flowering. Pruning starts in May, and a pruning demonstration in conjunction with the Rose Society is held each year.

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