Dunedin Botanic Garden
The Dunedin Botanic Garden (usually locally known in the plural form as the Dunedin Botanic Gardens) is located at the northern end of central Dunedin, in the South Island of New Zealand. The garden is close to the University of Otago and one of the city's most historic cemeteries, the Northern Cemetery, on a spur of Signal Hill and on the river plain immediately below it. These two parts of the gardens are known simply as the upper gardens and the lower gardens. The lower gardens are at an altitude of some 25 metres; the upper gardens rise up the hill spur to a height of 85 metres.
The location of the gardens makes them popular with University students, as they lie between the University and the mouth of North East Valley, which houses a substantial proportion of the city's tertiary students. They are also easily accessible by road from the city centre, being located close to the northern end of the city's main business street, George Street, and at the northern end of the city's one-way street system, part of State Highway 1. A small suburban shopping centre lies close to the Garden's northern entrance at an intersection know as The Gardens Corner.
The Garden - New Zealand's oldest - was established in 1863 on a site surrounding the Water of Leith now occupied by the University of Otago. After extensive flooding in 1868, the gardens were moved to their current site in 1869. The name of the former site is still recorded in corrupted form in the now little-used name of Tanna or Tani (i.e., Botanic) Hill for the small but steep rise located close to the university's registry building).
The garden was extensively enlarged during the early years of the 20th century under the stewardship of David Tannock. The garden forms part of Dunedin's Town Belt, a green belt surrounding the inner city, and covers a total of 28 hectares (69 acres).
The lower gardens' features include the Winter Garden, a heated Edwardian glass house, rose and herb gardens, a duck pond, children's playground, band rotunda, and Japanese garden, the latter commemorating links with Dunedin's Japanese sister city, Otaru. The lower gardens are also noted for their sculptures and statues, among them an ornate fountain, a gift of Wolf Harris, and a pair of statues by Cecil Thomas depicting Peter Pan and the Darling children from the novel Peter Pan. A more modern sculpture, based on Māori koru designs, decorates the northern entrance to the gardens.
A small tributary of the Leith, the Lindsay Creek, flows through the lower gardens. A cafe and visitors' centre are located to the west of this creek, next to a large duck pond and tropical greenhouse.
The upper gardens are split by a winding public road, Lovelock Avenue (named for former Dunedin resident, Olympic gold medallist Jack Lovelock). Along each side of this road are bush walks. The upper garden also features an African garden, a wetlands garden, a small aviary, and an extensive rhododendron dell. A rhododendron festival is held in the gardens every October.
In July 2010, the Dunedin Botanic Garden was awarded a rank of "Garden of International Significance" by the New Zealand Gardens Trust, becoming one of only five gardens nationwide to be awarded this honour. The only other garden in the South Island with this ranking is also in Dunedin, at Larnach Castle.
- Dann, C. and Peat, N. (1989) Dunedin, North and South Otago. Wellington: GP Books.
- Herd, J. and Griffiths, G.J. (1980) Discovering Dunedin. Dunedin: John McIndoe.
- "About the Dunedin Botanic Garden, Dunedin Botanic Garden website.
- David Loughrey (15 July 2010) Botanic Garden earns quite a laurel.,Otago Daily Times, p. 5.
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