|Our Environment: Issue 13 Summer 1997|
Christchurch: Best Garden City In The World
Christchurch's new status as Garden City of the World caps 150 years of care and pride in our parks and gardens.
Long known as the Garden City, Christchurch won the premier section of the international Nations in Bloom 1997 competition in October and was voted Best Garden City in the World. Parks consultant Neiel Drain promoted Christchurch's finer points with slides and a video when he presented the city's case at the finals in Madrid and later received the winning trophy. Cr Gordon Freeman, Chairman of the Council's Parks and Recreation Committee, represented the Council at the ceremony.
Mr Drain had earlier prepared a booklet on Christchurch's gardens and parks for the competition. Entitled simply "City of Christchurch, New Zealand", the booklet treats readers to a succession of colourful images of our public parks and squares as well as private gardens.
It notes that gardening is a hobby for 84 per cent of residents. The city also has 40 gardening clubs plus 38 specialist and three general horticultural societies.
More than 100,000 bedding plants and bulbs are planted each year in the city's public garden plots for spring floral displays; another 100,000 replace them for summer.
Fifteen hundred trees or groups of trees with historic, scientific or other special significance to Christchurch are given protection under the Proposed City Plan. Also listed in the City Plan under Heritage and Amenities are 570 buildings, places and objects.
Part of Christchurch's attraction is its diversity. Just a few kilometres from the urban centre oxidation ponds provide an important habitat for migratory birds while Travis Heritage Park is a unique freshwater wetland.
Restoration of the city's 400km of waterways provides natural green corridors for birds, fish and insects. They have also become attractive places for Christchurch residents to enjoy.
The city celebrates its beauty with annual street and garden awards, garden shows and the Garden Festival of Flowers. Being named the Best Garden City has let the rest of the world into our secret and given the city a major profile on the world stage.
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