(Feb 15, 2003) We arrived in Wellington, New Zealand after sailing for a day from Auckland around 8:00 in the morning. The map shown below illustrates our journey and the stops along the way. The top spot on our list of things to do was to visit the Wellington Botanic Garden. The Garden was established in 1868 and was managed by the New Zealand Institute that planted the major conifer species that can be seen today. The planting was part of a program to import plant species and assess their economic potential in the new colony.
Since 1891 the Wellington City Council has managed the Garden and developed the Lady Norwood Rose Garden , the Begonia House (1960) and the Treehouse Visitor Center (1991). Today the Garden covers 65 acres with a unique mixture of protected native forest plants, conifer plantings and plant collections with major seasonal floral bedding displays.
It is considered to be at its best in spring and early summer. (We hit the right time.) The Rose Garden opened in 1953 and was named after Lady Norwood, wife of the former Mayor Sir Charles Norwood. It contains 106 formal beds, each containing a different cultivar, including recent introductions and old favorites. In addition to the formal beds are collections of patio roses, David Austin roses and a trial area for new cultivars.
Lady Norwood Rose Garden
There are two entrances to the Garden. The lower entrance is near the cable car entrance shown in the photo to the left. Since the Garden is built on a hill we opted to take the cable car to the top of the hill and then tour the Garden by walking down and exiting at this entrance versus walking up and then down again. As you can see from the photo, it is a long way up the hill.
Let's begin our photo tour of the Garden with the Lady Norwood Rose Garden.
The formal garden is surrounded with arches and multiple entrances.
Stepping through the arch we begin to get a feeling of how truly grand this garden is. While not evident in this photo, there is no grass edging around the individual beds. They are all maintained by hand.
The following group of photos are of some of the roses in the Garden.
Two new cultivars, Summer Dream (left) and Strawberry Ice (right), caught Crystal's eye. We spent a bit of time looking at all of the formal beds and picked up a couple of ideas for our own gardens. The following photos are of the "informal" beds scattered throughout the Garden
Crystal was amazed at how tall and colorful the hydrangeas are.
The Begonia House held many surprises. The first being the size of the flowers on the begonias. Most were literally the size of a dinner plate.
There was a scattering of different kinds of flowering plants among the begonias.
The trellis of bleeding hearts caught our eye.
The water garden, located in the building with the begonias portray a wistful feeling to the visitor. The pond is elevated about 30" thus bringing the plants closer to the viewer.
This unique sundial caught our attention. The stone that Crystal is standing on has a figure eight pattern etched in it. Along the pattern are the various months of the year. When one stands on the appropriate month their shadow points toward the vertical stones indicating the correct time of day.
We were intrigued by the conifers that grew in the garden. The size of the needles is not an optical illusion. The branches with the needles are approximately the size of a persons arm.
As we traveled along the path through the Garden we spotted this waterfall tucked back in the trees.
As we were approaching the exit to the Garden we found ourselves in an old cemetery that has become an integral part of the Garden. Most of the headstones dated back to the 1800's like the one shown on the right above. This persons stone indicates that he had died at age 41 in 1888. Another stone nearby was a common headstone for a family that consisted of the father, mother and seven children.
Parts of the City of Wellington
As we exit the Garden we walk across a footbridge, spanning the expressway at the edge of the city, we are intrigued at how the modern look of the city has blended with the ancient. Note the curved tan building in the center of the picture on the right. It is over 100 years old.
The shaped structures in the photo on the left are made of bricks. They serve as "freeform" sculptures for a governmental building. The tan building (on the right photo--not the same building in the previous photo) is approximately 100 years old and is made entirely of wood. (The writing on the photo was done by Lynn using Digital Image Pro software. It wasn't painted on the street--really, it wasn't.)
We walked around the town for a while and picked up a couple of postcards and souvenirs just like a couple of tourists. When we were done we got on one of the shuttle busses, provided by Princess, for a ride back to the ship. Along the way Lynn took the picture above to show the variety and types of homes that dominate the area.
This evening we were again piped away by another bagpipe group. Tomorrow we will awaken in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. It is located almost halfway between Wellington and Dunedin. The cruise map used at the top of this page came from a Princess Cruises website and doesn't indicate this port of call.
Next Stop: Christchurch, New Zealand
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