Christchurch, The Garden City, In Spring
Driving around Christchurch in the spring certainly confirms the
appropriateness of calling it the Garden City. The daffodils and cherry
trees beside the Avon River near Christchurch Hospital and the cherry trees
and the carpet of bluebells near Harper Avenue make a wonderful show.
Other parks and private gardens have spring bulbs in abundance.
As those flowers of early spring begin to fade the azaleas and
rhododendrons and later flowering cherry trees in parks and home gardens
provide a feast of colour.
Spring in home gardens
at the University of Canterbury and the plantings around the University buildings are well worth a visit.
Orton Bradley Park
Azaleas in Ilam Gardens
Orton Bradley Park at Charteris Bay on the Lyttelton Harbour has a
rhododendron garden developed in recent years by the
Canterbury Rhododendron Society.
The Botanic Gardens
Botanic Gardens there is a
succession of displays of flowers - the
daffodils and cherry trees, rhododendrons, azaleas, the iris garden in late
October, and the roses from November onward. You can see these on foot
with a map from the information centre or ride on the tour vehicle with
commentary from the driver. Tours run from 11 am to 3 pm daily, with
longer hours in summer and the cost is $6.00 for an adult.
The gardens at Monavale
are particularly lovely in the spring, with flowering trees and a colourful iris garden, and with the rose garden
flowering from November on. Be sure to visit the historic fernery while
you are there.
New plantings in Hagley Park thanks to a generous gift
This year I noticed new beds being prepared under the trees in South Hagley
Park across Deans Avenue from Nancy's Hotel. These beds are now filled
with young azalea plants gifted by Christchurch businessman, Kenneth
Weaver. After visiting the Ilam Gardens he was so impressed by the beauty
of the place that he asked the University of Canterbury to propagate a
thousand colourful azaleas to be planted in South Hagley Park to give
pleasure each spring to people driving to work. The scheme is being
funded by the Kenneth F. Weaver Charitable Trust Incorporated.
New azalea plantings in South Hagley Park
Raising the plants a big challenge
When Mr Weaver proposed the scheme University of Canterbury propagator,
Simon McCarthy, was faced with a real challenge. Raising a thousand
azaleas would be a daunting prospect for most gardeners because azaleas
are particularly difficult to propagate, having a poor strike rate from
cuttings. Simon hand-selected the plants in 1993. They were not more than
an inch long. He gave them constant care in the first eighteen months and
has continued to nurture them for seven years till they are now thriving
and planted out in their new site.
Visit Christchurch in the spring
When you plan your next visit to the South Island remember that spring is a
particularly colourful time to visit the Garden City.