As we move into the 10 year of the new century it is timely to look back to where we have come from and into the future and where we would like to be. Horticulturally speaking that may be interesting.
Looking back Christchurch has bought the Ellerslie Garden Show and the first one has been held in Hagley Park. The CHS won a Gold medal. Also we have seen an upsurge in home gardening mainly in the vegetable production area as people cope with the recession. Biodiversity was a catch cry to win the hearts and minds of people to help retain our natural heritage and recently the term sustainability has been on everyone’s lips. Climate change and global warming have provided some interesting dialogue with some predicting disaster and others suggesting a warmer climate will be great for gardeners.
Garden centres have closed and big box retailing has increased their presence selling trees shrubs and plants. The Christchurch Botanic gardens announced a $10m build for a new visitor centre and nursery complex. The Festival of Flowers is 20 years old. Public trees in Christchurch have been subject to a removal system as they are getting “to old” and there has been a rise in the number of people requesting trees to be removed.
For the future we need to think about what we would like Christchurch to look like, what kinds of plants we want to grow in our gardens and how we enjoy our gardens.
We do know that there are a lot of people going t retire in the next 10 years – baby boomers. They are well educated, reasonably well off, very healthy and may have a green ethic. So what may happen in 10 years time? Ellerslie Garden Show may still be around but not in the form that we see it now and with a name change. Home gardens will flourish and we will continue to see an increase in the amount of vegetables, fruits and salads growing in our gardens. Unfortunately the variety of ornamental plants will narrow in choice as the big box retailing continue to sell easy to propagate, easy and fast to grow plants for a quick turnaround and fast profit to the detriment of all NZ gardens.
With the removal and replanting of urban trees we may see these trees better looked after only if the Council and is advisors rethink a tree planting and management policy and procedure or we will see a further demise in our trees.
The Botanic gardens will have its new visitor centre and we hope it may be a stimulus for the further development of gardening, horticulture and community pride in Christchurch.