(Tulip growing is carried out mainly in the South Island from Christchurch southwards; the tulip fields are worth a visit in late September and early October.)
Waterlea Park is a well-laid-out recreation ground with a good selection of ornamentals. Seymour Square and Pollard Park feature displays of bedding plants. Blenheim is a centre of flower-seed production produced on specialised holdings.
The Grove Road from Picton to Havelock runs through native bush along the edge of the Sounds. Past Havelock, the main highway from Blenheim to Nelson goes through the Pelorus Bridge Reserve, an area of native bush preserved intact, including many fine specimen trees, especially totara. From Rai Valley a very difficult road leads through magnificent native bush to the Croisilles and the outlying points of Pelorus Sound.
Queen's Gardens have a wide range of trees and shrubs, including several rare and unusual species. Britannia Park, and other smaller public parks, provide extensive views across Tasman Bay. Isel Park has many labelled specimens of introduced trees and, further afield, at Wakefield, there are old specimen trees in gardens.
Roads to the West Coast pass through Golden Downs State Forest, which includes plantations of labelled specimens of exotics. The road through the Buller Gorge and from Hokitika southwards to the Haast runs through magnificent scenery, with many good stands of native timber. The southern rata is a lovely sight in January.
With its tree-lined Avon and its many large parks and reserves, Christchurch is rightly termed the “Garden City”. Hagley Park has magnificent trees and the Botanic Gardens have a large collection of all types of ornamental plants, well labelled, with a rose garden and display house. The Cockayne Memorial Garden has native plants. Other public parks or reserves have the following notable features: Avon Park, ericaceous plants; Elmwood Park, herbaceous borders; Rising Holme, fine specimen trees; Victoria Park, two rock gardens, one of native alpines, the other of exotic plants; and Deans Bush, Riccarton, a remnant of the once widespread kahikatea swamp forest. “Ilam”, now owned by the University of Canterbury, contains an extensive collection of rhododendrons and azaleas. Throughout the Christchurch area there are many nurseries and attractive factory and private gardens.
Lincoln College is a centre for agricultural and horticultural teaching and research. The Botany Division of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (research into native plants) has headquarters at Lincoln.
Arthur's Pass National Park, between Canterbury and the West Coast, has comprehensive collections of native plants. There are tracks leading to alpine flower fields.
Mid and South Canterbury
Many of the towns in this district, such as Ashburton, Temuka, Geraldine, and Winchester, have extensive domains planted in exotics and shrubs. Victoria Park at Waimate has bedding displays and Nottingly Park contains many fine specimens of 80-year-old exotics. The Timaru Public Gardens feature roses, herbaceous borders, and conservatories, while Caroline Bay has marine gardens, of special interest being the she-oaks planted for decoration.
Otago and Southland
Oamaru has extensive public gardens with display house, fernery, roses, and beautiful exotic trees. The wide, tree-planted streets are an attractive feature of the town.
The beautifully situated Botanical Gardens include a rose garden, a large rock garden, and a Shakespeare Garden, where plants, referred to in the plays, have been planted. Rhododendrons, in a setting of native bush, and azaleas are a magnificent sight from September until December. Many private gardens contain a considerable number of good specimen plants. Around the city are many parks planted in exotic trees (Jubilee, Chingford) or with remnants of indigenous (Woodhaugh), and there are large municipal exotic plantations on the slopes of Flagstaff. At Whare Flat the flowering kowhais are an attraction in the spring.
Glenfalloch, at Colinswood, near Dunedin, was developed privately and planted with a wide range of trees and shrubs, including flowering cherries, lilies, azaleas, and rhododendrons; it is a garden both for general and for horticultural interests.
Central Otago is rich in deciduous trees, notably poplars and willows, which have superb colouring in the autumn. There is fruit blossom in the spring. Commercial flower seeds, tulips, and gladioli are produced at the Moa Seed Farm, Ettrick. “Daffodil Hill”, Lawrence, is a feature when the narcissus are in flower. The Government Public Gardens at Queenstown, with water lily ponds, bedding displays, and magnificent exotic trees, are set against Lake Wakatipu and a most beautiful backdrop of the Remarkables.
Invercargill has Queen's Park, the principal park of Southland, an area of 200 acres which includes rose, rock, and water gardens and a fine conservatory. There are several nurseries here and in Gore which produce hardier plants.
Stewart Island is noted for its wide range of native flora and fauna.
by John Paiba Salinger, B.SC.(HORT.)(READING), N.D.H., Horticultural Advisory Officer (Ornamentals), Department of Agriculture, Wellington.