Story: Public gardens

Page 4. Modern public gardens

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Bason Botanic Gardens, Whanganui

Named after their creator, Stanley Bason, the Bason Botanic Gardens were gifted to the Wanganui City Council in 1966, on the understanding that the council would continue to develop and maintain the area as a botanic garden. Since the end of the First World War a number of private, rural land holdings have been gifted or acquired by local and regional councils, but few have been developed into gardens – most have been kept as open parkland. The council adopted Bason’s vision for his 25 hectares of coastal farmland, and has developed areas of woodland plantings, native bush, a conifer arboretum, a subtropical garden and a conservatory complex.

Auckland Botanic Gardens

Located on 64 hectares of rolling land in South Auckland, the Auckland Botanic Gardens were opened in 1982. Unlike other public gardens in New Zealand, they showcase collections as much for their botanical worth as for their ornamental value. Staff at the gardens breed and trial cultivars that grow well in Auckland conditions, and play an active role in conserving native plants of northern New Zealand.

Key collections in the gardens are:

  • the Gondwana arboretum – a collection of plants with ancestral links to the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana
  • threatened native plants
  • a palm garden specialising in species that tolerate cool temperatures
  • a rose garden containing cultivars that perform well in Auckland
  • an interactive children’s garden, where children can dig, plant and explore
  • an edible garden, displaying vegetable and fruit plants.

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens are unique in that they contain a collection of themed gardens designed to tell the history of garden culture. These include the Paradise Gardens – six separate areas illustrating an Italian renaissance garden, a Japanese garden of contemplation, an American modernist garden, an English flower garden, a Chinese scholar’s garden and an Indian char bagh garden.

How to cite this page:

Maggy Wassilieff, 'Public gardens - Modern public gardens', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 24 September 2021)

Story by Maggy Wassilieff, published 24 Nov 2008