The main entrance is on Queen Street, Hope Archway, towards King Street and there is a drive through the gardens that comes out on Domain Ave otherwise it is a lovely 30 minute walk around the gardens. There are fine specimens of trees, a greenhouse, two duck ponds and a Robert Burns statue. The gardens, a living plant museum, 19 hectares with mature trees, the Anderson Rose Garden, named after Walter Anderson, a former curator of reserves, with a fountain, a herb garden with a sundial, The Shakespeare Trail, an historic walk, two duck ponds, the large Graeme Paterson Conservatory and Fernery, open bankers hours, an aviary, slopes, spaces, plantings and peace is located between the hospital and the cemetery. A maple collection on the south slope behind the hospital. The Education Centre, the hexagonal kiosk, open Wednesday and Sunday 2pm - 4pm, near the 1912 band rotunda built to commemorate the coronation of George V. has oaks, elms and crabapples. The drinking fountain, originally erected outside the Post Office in 1887 on the occasion of Queen Victoria's Jubilee is at the gardens. There is a New Zealand native plant garden between the drive and Domain Ave near the Eucalyptus stand. Trees and plants are labelled.
M = War Memorial H =hospital
Timaru Herald | Tuesday, 08 July 2008
There was the begonia house, the fernery, propagating glasshouses, the cactus house and the Tea Kiosk. The nursery yard had a large open ground area where various shrubs and trees were grown to a reasonable size for planting in public places. In the nursery yard and buildings the men made wooden plant boxes, washed pots, sharpened and serviced tools and made up soil mixes. The gardens department maintained quite a large collection of trees and shrubs, hydrangeas and cyclamen in pots, half barrels and boxes. These were used frequently for functions in the Theatre Royal, Bay Hall and council chambers as well as other venues.
The Gloucester Gates, Queen St. entrance, with a golden pine tree to the left.
These gates were opened by His Royal Highness, the Duke of Gloucester on 10 January 1935. T. W. Satterthwaite, mayor
New Zealand's largest collection of species roses.
Born January 1759
Died July 1796
'The largest soul of all the British Lands'
The rank is but the guinea's stamp
The man's the gowd for a'that
Robert Burns statue in the Timaru Gardens.
Grey River Argus, 21 May 1913, Page 5 Far and near people of Canterbury and Otago foregathered in Timaru on Thursday May 22nd, 1913, to attend the unveiling.
STATUE OF BOBBY BURNS. A considerable interest is being taken in the ceremony. of unveiling the statue, of Robert Burns in the Park on Thursday. A special train has been arranged from Dunedin and there will be excursion fares from Christchurch and Oamaru. This statue is of marble just life size, set on a coromandel granite block. It is a gift Mr. J. Craigie M.P., to the town, and is placed near, the main entrance gates of the park. Sir Robert Stout is to be the principal speaker at the ceremony.
Poverty Bay Herald, 23 May 1913, Page 3
The statue was cut at Carrara, from an original design, and is said to be a good likeness. It represents' the poet standing, pen in hand, with his right arm across his breast and his left hand holding papers resting on a draped support. The costume is of the Edinburgh period. The figure stands on a plinth of Coromandel granite, with a Timaru stone base. The total height is 15ft.
The 4th Feb. 2012 a mindless person removed the head of the 1.8 metre Robert Burns statue. The carved marble head, belonging to was later discovered by a member of the public at Patiti Point. It was found about a kilometre from the Timaru Botanical Gardens where the statue has been since its unveiling in May 1913. On 19 April 2012 a Ana Machadl, of Auckland, stone conservator, secured the head back on the statue using strong rods to strengthen it. She used her stone-work expertise to repair Timaru's Boer War statue soldier's hat and its fingers and thumbs.
Otago Witness, 6 January 1909, Page 70
A grey duck made the Park Committee of the Timaru Domain a very substantial ; Christmas present. The duck (says the Timaru Herald) had been very closely ; attending to domestic duties on the island in the ornamental water for some weeks, and on Christmas morn took eight of her infant sons and daughters out for their first swim. The instance is of more than passing importance, as it shows that the wild duck will rear a numerous family in captivity.
Otago Witness, 19 November 1902, Page 69 TIMARU PARK.
(See Illustrations elsewhere in this issue, page 46.) The illustrations which appear on another page, entitled "Scenes in the Timaru Park," give an idea of what is known in the capital of South Canterbury as "The Park." In the past the distinguishing feature that entitled it to the name of "park" was not plain. Then it was merely a large block of land surrounded by a belt of pines, the centre being used as grazing paddocks, with a piece set apart for the use of the public as a football or cricket ground — but seldom used. Of late years, however, under progressive management, the appearance of the park has been altered for die better. Originally the park consisted of 50 acres, but four acres were fenced off and are now known as the Hospital Grounds. The ground was then under the administration of a Domain Board, and one of the first works of improvement consisted of planting a belt of four rows of pinus insignus and English trees round the entire block of 46 acres. Inside this a path ran on the northern side of the ground, the remainder, as mentioned above, being used for grazing purposes. As far as the writer can remember, the park was handed over about 17 years ago to the Borough Council, and about that time Mr Cross, the present caretaker, took charge. Since that time there has been steady but slow progress. Of course, with only one man to attend to 46 acres, progress must necessarily be slow. When the present caretaker took charge the walk and flower beds shown in photo No. 2 were part of the grazing paddock, and outside the inner fence was a flower bed with 27 rose trees ! How the Timaru Park has what is termed the best collection in the colony of over 200 different varieties of roses, as well as an extensive collection of hardy herbaceous flowers. There are about three acres in flowers- and shrubbery, and another three acres were planted this year. Inside the two main walks about five acres has been set apart as a recreation reserve, which is only moderately patronised by footballers and cricketers, but before it will become the general rendezvous of devotees of these games the ground will need materially improving. A plan to effect this has been mentioned, but the want of funds is the only drawback, as there are other and more important improvements contemplated and in hand. There is a full of from 5ft to 6ft in this part of the ground, and the plan mentioned provides for the levelling, so as to make a cricket or football ground, with tennis courts at the upper end. Probably this work will engage the attention of councillors at an early date, as the need of such a ground close to the town is sorely required in Timaru. Under the old regime nothing was spent in improvements, nearly all the beautiful shrubs seen in the gardens now being propagated from seeds and cuttings ; and much of the credit — if not all — is entirely due to the present caretaker. Practically speaking, it is only within the last few months that any real improvement has been attempted by the Borough Council, who, recognising that Timaru, with such an asset as Caroline Bay, should be a much-frequented health resort, decided to keep the park in line with, the strides made by Timaru itself. The formation of the ground lent itself admirably to the plan, proposed by Mr Archer, borough engineer. Running through the centre of the ground is a creek, which, being dammed at the centre and at the lower end, formed good sized ponds. In the upper pond was placed an island (as shown in picture No. 4), which has been planted with shrubs, trees, etc. Paths will be laid out around these, and when the shrubs have grown. Timaru Park will be a pleasant holiday resort.
The caretaker's residence, Mr Cross, was situated at the north-west corner of the park.
Tanner Bros. Postcard. There are two duck ponds in the gardens.
One has a swamp cypress (Taxodium distichum) planted about 1948, a conifer, is a stunning red in May.
On the northern side of the lower pond was a fine collection of New Zealand native plants.
Otago Witness, 23 December 1908,
In the Timaru Domain is a specimen of laburnum which develops three distinct varieties of foliage. My attention was lately drawn to this freak, as it was termed, this laburnum, known as Cyticus Adami is said to have originated in 1825 in the nursery of D. Adam, at Vitry, near Paris resulted from a bud of Cyticus purpurcus (Cytisus purpureus) which had been inserted into a laburnum, and in time flowers intermediate between he two were produced. The singular part that the same tree will bear flowers of the laburnum. Cyticus purpurous and the graft hybrid Adami, the latter flower of a reddish buff. The characters cannot be depended upon to develop every year.
Timaru Herald 8 February 2007 Claire Haren
More heritage sites, buildings and precincts around the Timaru district could be identified and protected in the future. The Timaru District Council's resource planning and regulation committee yesterday supported a review of significant heritage buildings, structures and sites, and agreed to ask the full council to set aside some money for the process when it considered the budget this year. District planner Andrew Hammond said the council had carried out three heritage audits, but there were potentially still some gaps in that information, particularly in the area of heritage landscapes, precincts and streets. Mr Hammond said it had been identified that there were a number of important areas worthy of individual study. They included Caroline Bay and Centennial Park, the Gleniti Road homesteads and early lifestyle blocks around Timaru, the central Geraldine township, Pareora township and the meatworks, Peel Forest, Mesopotamia, Mt Peel, Te Moana Gorge, Orari Gorge, Waihi Gorge, Tripp Settlement, Totara Valley, and Maori Hill/Highfield/ Seaview (Beverley Hill/Beverley/ Kitchener Square).
Some historic areas are already recorded, including Kakahu Valley and the Timaru Botanic Gardens. The cost to carry out heritage inventories was estimated at $40,000, with a further $40,000 to carry out a plan change. However, Mr Hammond said there could be considerable opposition to a change, given the additional rules that would be placed on listed buildings, structures and sites. Cr Ray Bennett said the council had an obligation to start the process.
"The longer you leave it, the worse it becomes. You only have to see what's been happening with development of ownership units -- historic precincts of quite old houses have disappeared. We need to ensure certain precincts are preserved as much as we can, although I'm not suggesting a draconian approach." Cr Michael Oliver agreed the process should start, and said it should be carried out separately to a review of the whole district plan. "When you do it as a plan change outside that 10-year review process, you get a better result. When it comes to re-doing the district plan, these sorts of things are minor in the big picture."
Erected by the people of South Canterbury, Floral Fete Committee, Wm C. Raymond, Esq., President, 1922
The Jubilee Water Fountain
In 1897, the year of Queen Victoria's Jubilee, and many towns throughout New Zealand endeavoured to commemorate the event in a substantial way; and do some work that would be of benefit to the town and remain a more or less permanent mark of respect to the memory of a well-beloved Queen. Timaru's effort was the Jubilee Water Fountain outside the old Timaru Post Office (now located at the Timaru Botanical Gardens). Each side has wording
Erected to commemorate the fiftieth year of the reign of Queen Victoria.
W.F.D. Jervious, K.C.M.C.,
Moss Jonas, Esquire.
Mayor of Timaru.
21st June MDCCCLXXXVII
E.H. Lough, Town Clerk
Residents do benefit from living adjacent to public gardens.
Celmisia spectabilis -
a daisy or Tikumu
I always called it the Mountain Daisy or Cotton Plant.
Dwarf Shrub Daisy
Broad-leaved mallee Box
|Rosacae garden origin (crab apple)
malus x robusta
Mexician Weeping Pine
Golden deodar cedar
Mature Height: up to 60 ft.
Mature Width: up to 40 ft.
Plant in harmony with the climate instead of constantly trying to conquer it.
Mount Cook Lily, Giant Buttercup
Wii, Silver Tussock
South Canterbury Mountains
Snow Totara. Mountain Totara
Edible Tussock, Blue Tussock
This tree planted in 1994 commemorates the 100th anniversary of the first ascent of Mount Cook.
South Island Mountains
Timaru Herald, 4 September 1893, Page 2
For some days past there have been numerous complaints to the police of flower stealing, Mr Cross of the domain, and Mr Drake of the cemetery, particularly suffering at the hands of the thieves. On Friday night last several very choice plants were missed from the domain, and the loss of these as reported by Mr Cross led the police to arrest a man named Burr who was found planting flowers which were similar to these which had been stolen. Accused was let out on bail, and will come before the Resident Magistrates Conrt this morning to answer charges of flower-stealing.
Timaru Herald, 5 September 1893,
A man named Burr was charged before the Resident Magistrate and the Major yesterday with stealing primroses and polyanthuses from the Domain, on the night of September lßt. Ho pleaded guilty. Constable Hallett stated that the theft of the flowers was reported by the Domain keeper, Mr Cross, and witness was going to see a certain suspected man when on the way he saw the accused planting out flowers of the kinds stolen. Witness asked him a few questions about them, and then fetched Mr Cross, who identified the flowers, and accused thereupon admitted the theft, and said be need not have stolen them for Mr Cross would have given him the flowers. Sergeant- Major McDonald, who led the evidence, stated that therehbad been many complaints of thefts of flowers. The accused's employer for the last four years gave him an excellent character for honesty ; he had found him thoroughly honest. Accused said he had no excuse, and he did not know at all what made him do it. The Bench consulted, and remarking that this kind of theft is difficult to bring home to the guilty, and that it is too common, said the offence could not. be looked over. Taking into consideration the accused's good character they would not send him to prison, but ordered him to pay a fine of 40s.
The Timaru Herald
Timaru man Trevor Griffiths continues his series of reminiscences of his early life in Timaru. Today he recalls the beginning of his working life at the Timaru Botanic Gardens. Those of you who like myself were born in the 20s and 30s will remember perhaps with some regret that a primary and secondary education was of the utmost importance. But you had to be particularly lucky to go on to a university to achieve degrees in your chosen subjects. Under the circumstances existing at the time it was impossible for me to go on to achieve something higher although I had the qualifications to do so. So it was with much trepidation and more than a little nervousness I reported for work at the King Street gates of the Botanical Gardens. Fresh from Boys High, aged 19, it was February 4, 1947 that my working life commenced. There on that morning about 7.45am there was quite a group of men assembled waiting for the gates to be opened. Two choice pieces of advice were given to me at this time. One, "not to complain about the system because there wasn't one", the other "never to get the pacemaker rushed" and when I asked "who was the pacemaker?" the answer came back "the slowest in the group". Needless to say I walked across the yard with the other men more than a little mystified. I met the foreman Bill Walker immediately and he assigned me to assist Jack Houston with the weeding and tidying of several frames of anemones and ranunculus. Bill Walker was a tall kindly man who walked with a stoop and was a fund of knowledge to a young fellow wanting to learn. The frames we were working in stretched along the length of a brick wall which seemed about six or more feet high. In the centre of this wall was a large locked door, behind which was housed a 44 gallon drum of petrol for the limited number of mowers etc at that time. Compared with today the system was so different. You asked the foreman for the key to the petrol locker. You had to justify your need for the petrol. You then took your one or two gallon tin to the locker and hand pumped carefully the amount required before signing for it in the book provided before padlocking the storage locker. I was never sure of how many men worked for the Reserves Department but they were allocated in this way. There were two "outside gangs" for the want of a better word. One was led by Jim Milligan and the other by Wally Jackson. These two groups had a roving commission and from time to time attended to the seasonal needs of the various reserves and sports-grounds within the city. On wet days they came back to the nursery yard and buildings where they made wooden plant boxes, washed pots, sharpened and serviced tools and made up soil mixes. The nursery yard complex, the actual base for all the staff members, was serviced by four to 10 men depending on the weather and the season. The mower gang consisted of probably four men using two tractors and two sets of gang mowers and two very large ATCO mowers which even the strongest men found difficult to control. It was always a matter of great merriment to see Wally Ruston, a man of only five feet high, swinging on the bar of his ATCO. The others concerned with the grass areas of the city were Jack Waddington, Jack Greig and from time to time Roy Hammond who was also the caretaker of the Caledonian Grounds. There was at this time a very fine herbaceous border stretching along the south side of the drive almost from the statue of Robert Burns and almost as far away as the Tea Kiosk. This was maintained by Don Heddell with others helping from time to time. Alec McKenzie was in charge of Caroline Bay with extra help when needed, while Bernie O'Leary and Jack Houston mostly had the begonia house, the fernery and the cactus house under their care. Two other men who held important responsibilities were Ollie Milne and Harry Stephens.
Ollie could have come from the Royal Navy as he stoked and cared for the two Robin Hood coal-fired furnaces which heated the begonia house and cactus house and the propagating glasshouses with love and devotion. Harry, after returning from the war, took care of all the painting and glass repairs and assisted generally. One sunny morning a temporary gardener was sent up to weed and hoe the beds outside the cactus and begonia houses with disastrous results. He was not to know that two or three weeks before we had planted a large number of Statice sinuata in this same area. He cheerfully hoed the lot out. The plants at this early stage grew flat along the ground and were not unlike dandelions. The nursery yard also had a large open ground area where various shrubs and trees were grown to a reasonable size for planting in public places. A W Anderson, the curator of the Botanical Gardens and a diploma holder from Kew Gardens in London, was in today's terms "the boss". On one of his rare visits to the open nursery area he arrived on the scene and instructed myself and my workmate to bring down the handcart from the yard which had already been supplied with a spade, a shovel, wire netting, small rocks and two pairs of gumboots. We carefully "lifted" a tree some six or more feet high which we placed on the handcart. It looked like a redwood (sequoia) but it had no leaves. We followed him down to the western end of the lower or second duck pond and were told we would now plant the tree. His instructions were "put the gumboots on and dig a hole in the mud big enough to take the roots". (The pond had previously been drained.) "Cover the roots with wire netting and rocks with some mud". The photo clearly shows the swamp cypress (Taxodium distichum) as it is today. This is the tree which grows in profusion in the everglades in Florida. With age it will lift its roots out of the water. It is now 60 years since we "placed" it there.
cupressaceae S.E. USA
Mention of this lower pond brings back memories of several of us young ones about nine or 10 years old riding our bikes across the frozen surface of this pond when the winters seemed to be much colder. On one occasion I started from the north or coldest side of the pond and when over half-way across the ice began to buckle and break. Luckily I reached the other side with the bicycle through the ice. On the northern side of the lower pond was a fine collection of New Zealand native plants and from time to time we would be instructed to tidy up the area. At that time there were two kauri trees (Agathis australis) about 20 feet high growing happily among the other natives. Visiting the area recently they were nowhere to be seen. One long serving member of the staff George Laplanche (known to others as Renee) told us the during the depression some of the temporary workers, safe in the knowledge that Mr Anderson was absent from the gardens, would shoot ducks on the pond from the cover of the native bush to provide food for their families. All in all I have to say that all of the staff worked happily together and I was never aware of any disagreements. Possibly this was because in fine weather the men were placed all over the city and only when the weather was really bad they would come together for a short time. Two men who stand out in my memory for different reasons were Jack Brake and Ted Childs. We did not see them very often but when the weather turned sour they would come back to the nursery yard where their expertise in the pot washing department was well recognised. Ted, an elderly man, was a dour Englishman from County Durham while Jack was an ever happy Kiwi, always smiling. They sometimes would be pot washing for three days on end. They worked under conditions that would never be accepted today. Old laundry tubs with cold water only not even gloves supplied. In passing I would ask Ted "how are you today" and his always same reply would come back, "better now before I was then". There were other duties of course, some of which you may not classify as being of a horticultural nature. The gardens department maintained quite a large collection of trees and shrubs, hydrangeas and cyclamen in pots, half barrels and boxes. These were used frequently for functions in the Theatre Royal, Bay Hall and council chambers as well as other venues.
Wednesday, 01 November 2006 By BARBARA WEIL Tamaki and Districts Times
Memory of Old Roses. By Trevor Griffiths. Publisher: Penguin Books.
The photographs in this book alone make its price worth paying if you are enthusiastic about the queen of flowers. Trevor Griffiths has now written eight books about his favourite subject. His collection of genuine old roses in Timaru was once the third largest in the world. Now retired after more than 50 years in the business Griffiths looks back on a life well spent, travelling all over the world, raising a family and dedicating a lifetime to the preservation and creation of the world’s best loved flower. It all began when the author looked after the home garden as a young lad. He grew vegetables, gladioli and the propagation of rose plants. He had to source rootstock and at only 14 was surprised that his requests were taken seriously by nurserymen. “That rootstock formed the basis of my future efforts because no matter what type of propagation method one uses, it can only be successful if carried out from parent plants,” he says. Griffiths was born in 1928 the sixth of seven children. Although times were hard, the family all showed musical ability and created their own entertainment. Trevor Griffith’s first job was as a cadet gardener at the Timaru Botanical Gardens. He met his wife Dixie at a dance and they wed in 1950 in what was to become a lifelong partnership. They had four children. Griffiths was head gardener at Queen Mary Hospital Hamner Springs and along the way he held many positions and gained several qualifications. Moving back to Timaru the family endured hard conditions — their only consolation was that one day they would establish their own nursery. They did, very successfully. The book documents the author’s collaborations with rose growers all over the world, including his long friendship with the English grower David Austin. Trevor Griffiths still had time for community service, rising to high positions in Rotary and the Freemasons. The Trevor Griffiths Garden designed by Sir Miles Warren is visited in Timaru by thousands every year. It contains 1200 roses. Memory of Old Roses evokes innocent times when people worked long and hard to reach their goals. However the real stars in this lovely book are the flowers and the people who preserved and created them.