Still smelling the roses
ONE of Eden Garden’s founding volunteers still finds time to walk among her favourite bluebells and camellias.
Molly Spackman celebrated her 98th birthday with a cup of tea in the gardens on Tuesday. She and her husband Ian helped establish the garden in the 1960s.
Formerly a quarry and ‘‘tip’’, the Omana Rd site was gradually transformed. The Spackmans and a band of volunteers would go every Saturday to plant seedlings there, Molly says.
The garden sits on the Epsom side of Mt Eden and is home to a range of flora and fauna, growing in the mountain’s volcanic soil.
Tui, fantail, kingfisher and wood pigeons live in the 2.2 hectare garden.
‘‘I think it’s a beautiful place,’’ Molly says. ‘‘ My husband used to take the weeds out and I used to come up and help him, of course.’’
The site was purchased by businessman Sir Frank Mappin and planting began in earnest in July 1964. Mappin had horticulturalist Jack Clark and 15 volunteers lead the project.
Molly was born in Epsom and still lives within a minute’s drive of the garden. She used to teach Sunday School at St Andrew’s Anglican Church. Five of her church friends attended Molly’s birthday morning tea at the Eden Garden Cafe.
Organiser Diana Burslem says the garden is unique and worldfamous for its wide variety of plants. Volunteers still look after the garden and maintenance is funded through donations.
Eden Garden hosts events such as its annual tulip festival in September. Go to edengarden.co.nz.
Molly and mates: Members of St Andrew’s Anglican Church celebrate the 98th birthday of Molly Spackman, front from left, Valerie Sherwood, guest of honour Molly, Beverley Ford; back from left, Cynthia Landels, Diana Burslem, Charline Baker, at Eden Garden.