Still smelling the roses

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By JESS ETHERIDGE

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.

Photo: JESS ETHERIDGE

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.

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