Christchurch Botanic Gardens 140 years old
3 July 2003
This month the Christchurch Botanic Gardens celebrates its 140th anniversary.
The planting of an oak tree on July 9 1863 is generally regarded as the
foundation of what has become one of the finest collections of exotic and
indigenous plants to be found anywhere in New Zealand.
The oak, Quercus robur, was planted to commemorate the marriage
of Queen Victoria’s eldest son Prince Albert Edward to Princess Alexandra
of Denmark. One hundred and forty years later, a tree planting and afternoon
tea is being held for current and former staff and Friends of the Gardens
to celebrate the anniversary.
Without a doubt, the Botanic Gardens are the jewel in the city’s crown,” says
Cr Carole Anderton, Chair of the Parks, Gardens and Waterways Committee.
In the latest Citizens Survey, residents identified the Botanic
Gardens as the top attraction to show visitors Christchurch at
But Councillor Anderton adds that the Gardens need an injection
of capital in order to maintain a high standard. “They are rated alongside
the top botanic gardens in the world, and are rightfully treasured by Christchurch
people. Over the last decade, however, the site has lacked some development.
Investment in the Botanic Gardens is just as important as in any other part
of the city, and councillors are committed to improving both the buildings
and the collections in the next couple of years.”
Today the grounds of the Botanic Gardens cover an area of around
30 hectares (74 acres), mostly within a loop of the Avon River.
Numerous large majestic trees, many exceeding 120 years, form
an interesting background
to the various plant collections in the Gardens.
At the celebration next Wednesday descendents of Enoch Barker,
the first Government Gardener, have been asked to plant a
commemorative tree that is a progeny of the original Albert Edward Oak
on the Botanic Gardens site. Current staff, former staff
and Friends of the Gardens
are welcome to attend the celebration. Those wishing to attend
should contact the Gardens Information Centre (03) 941 7591
by Monday 07 July 2003.
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