Gardens an oasis of calm for city dwellers
Reporter Sarah Coddington writes about her first trip to the Auckland Botanic Gardens. She also took the photos.
An urban sanctuary is waiting to be discovered just down the southern motorway.
As soon as I drive in the main entrance through vinecovered pillars I know I’ve arrived somewhere special.
It’s my first trip to the Auckland Botanic Gardens. And I’m here at the best time of year. The roses are in full bloom and large-scale sculptures are dotted around the extensive grounds.
But the highlight is the low-lying lake in the middle of the gardens. Ducklings weave their way around flowers scattered across the water.
I’m not a gardener – I can’t tell the difference between a dahlia and a daisy. I once tried to grow pansies in a pot and they died within weeks. It seems plants need water.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the beauty the botanic gardens has to offer city dwellers.
As soon as I walk through the entrance of the visitors centre, past the nikau palms, I suddenly feel at ease. Things are calmer here.
Couples can be spotted taking in the scenery on the seats around the lake or having a picnic. It’s a place for old and young alike. Mums wander around with bubs in prams, and children roam around the sculptures or Potter Children’s Garden.
Many older people take weekly walks in the everchanging scenery and you can bring the dog.
What makes it special is the sense of community. The workers and volunteers wave and smile as I pass.
Magnolias, an edible garden patch, herbs – my gaze is continuously captured by the garden’s array of colour. Behind the beauty is a carefully mapped-out plan of plant species. Each plant is given a birth certificate and workers keep records to help Auckland gardeners learn what’s best to grow.
It’s like a zoo for plants where people work tirelessly to protect and grow plant species for others to enjoy.
So if you haven’t yet taken a trip to the gardens, best head on to the motorway.
Summer blush: Beautiful blooms come out for visitors in the holiday season. Double fun: Left, twin sisters Addison and Grace Baker, 2, enjoy smelling the flowers. Keep swimming: Below, a mother duck and her ducklings make their way to the bank of the pond.
Little helper: Left, an ant sculpture overlooks the vast landscape at the Auckland Botanic Gardens.