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Gardens Go Greener With New Approach To Planting

Botanic Garden display garden project. (Photo supplied)

The team at Wellington Botanic Garden ki Paekākā is taking a more sustainable approach to planting by extending the time between plant rotations in the display gardens.

Constant cultivation is not good for soil structures or soil organisms and can lead to the decline of traditional bedding plant and bulb displays, so most of the 6-monthly annual plant rotations will extend to 3 – 5 year crop rotations.

The upgrades involve removing existing bedding, soil enhancements, installing interpretation signs, irrigation adjustments, and planting a mix of annual plants, bulbs, perennials, shrubs and grasses.

Some of the benefits of this change include healthier soils, reduced irrigation, and more diversity in the species on display, including perennials and native plant species. Over 30 different plant species will be included in the new display, which will attract wildlife and pollinators.

Wellington Gardens Manager David Sole says the new structure of the display garden will also provide a better platform for storytelling.

“This new system will provide a great educational opportunity, whether that be sharing stories about sustainability, wildlife, conservation, or other plant stories significant to our community and environment.

“While we are changing the majority of our displays, we will continue the traditional floral and bulb displays – including our famous tulips!” adds David.

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Work started in March and phased planting will follow in May. Public access around the garden remains open with minor detours in place at times. There may be more vehicles in the area so follow directions from staff and/or contractors while installation is underway.

The shift to a more sustainable approach means set-up costs will increase this year, but the project will be cost neutral over the 3 – 5 year lifecycle with fewer plantings occurring.

The upgrade is estimated to cost $13.7K, and is funded from the Botanic Garden’s existing operating budget, assisted by donations from the Friends of Wellington Botanic Garden and Onslow Garden Club.

Updates will be available throughout the project on the Wellington Gardens Facebook page

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