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Two Timaru Gardens Acquire Five-star Rating From New Zealand Gardens Trust

Two Timaru District Council gardens have received the highest national honour.

Both the Timaru Botanical Gardens and the Trevor Griffiths Rose Garden have been awarded 5 stars as part of the New Zealand Gardens Trust.

The trust’s Lead Assessor Jan Woodhouse was taken around both gardens by Timaru District Council Parks and Recreation Manager, Bill Steans, on December 4.

“We look after around 25 hectares of Gardens in the district, and it is great result having the Timaru Botanic Gardens and the Trevor Griffiths Rose Garden once again fulfil the requirements of a five-star garden,” said Bill.

“We are two of the 56 Gardens of National Significance around the country and two of only eight in Canterbury.

“The Trevor Griffiths Rose Garden’s planting plan identifies 1000 roses that were gathered over a lifetime by the celebrated rosarian Trevor Griffiths. The garden opened in December 2001.

Trevor specialised in growing and writing about old roses and is largely the reason Timaru has a fine collection of Old Roses.

These are a style of rose that is bred to have a shorter flatter flower, rather than the taller tapering flower of Modern Roses.

“The Timaru Botanic Gardens is one of the oldest in the country and holds a lot of endangered plants from around the world in the conservatory complex,” Bill said.

The gardens were established in 1864 after the Canterbury Provincial Council were asked by the people of Timaru to make a reserve out of unsold land. In 1867 the area was placed under the care of the Borough of Timaru Park Commissioners and a year later the planting of trees and shrubs got underway.

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A lot of the early planting around 1972 especially near the ranger’s cottage was thanks to the public which donated trees, shrubs, flower roots, bulbs and seeds.

In 1938 land for the Timaru Hospital was subdivided from the Botanic Gardens and in 1988 the Graeme Paterson Conservatory was built in honour of the former Director of Parks and Recreation.

Jan said she left the assessment at the gardens, inspired, and humbled.

“It is a privilege and pleasure to visit gardens that are a result of hours of work by passionate, creative, and knowledgeable people,” she said.

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