Zealand Gardens of Significance:
Edited by Gordon Collier
Booklet, 64 pages, New Zealand, 2007
Book launch, NZGT
conference "Southern Splendour", 4-6 May 2007
It is with considerable
pride that I launch this excellent book on behalf of the New Zealand
Gardens Trust; it represents the work of many talented people -
the gardeners themselves and not least those involved in its production.
While this book doesn't pretend to be in the same league as Audrey
Eagle's recently released monumental tomes - Eagle's Complete
Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand, it fills a gap in our garden
literature that is long overdue. It is not a picture book but it
will be of particular value to people from overseas wanting to visit
our gardens and provide short cuts for the domestic garden visitor
as well. This garden guide will also be a benchmark as for the first
time gardens have been assessed and are in this book on merit -
not because they have paid to be included. The top ranking gardens,
the Gardens of National Significance, are represented by a full
page while Gardens of Regional Significance share a page with one
other. Visitors can expect to have a quality experience but should
be aware that the gardens are assessed on one day only and it is
up to the owners to keep their property at the same high standard.
This production by the
New Zealand Gardens Trust has been several years in the hatching.
From the Trust's inception four years ago under Chairman Jayson
Kelly, it was an aim to produce something along these lines; those
early years were very full and somehow the time was not right. That
we are now about to give birth to this long awaited baby, if I can
use that metaphor, can be credited in the first instance, to one
person, Avelyn Davidson. Avelyn is CEO of Weldon Owen Education,
an American publishing company that turns out in the region of 60
titles every year. One morning about three years ago when interviewing
her for an article I was writing for New Zealand House & Garden
magazine, the topic the Trustees had in mind came up. She at once
volunteered to publish for us at a reduced rate, an offer immediately
accepted! I should tell you her own garden in Acacia Bay high above
Lake Taupo is wonderful with breath taking views - we should send
out another envoy!
No project of this kind
is ever as simple as it might seem as Trustee Margaret Barker and
Executive Officer Liz Morrow will testify. The text was already
largely on the website (www.gardens.org.nz/)
but Liz had to check that this and the entries were correct - and
if they aren't it is not her fault, and attend to all the other
details that surfaced. Margaret with her recent book publishing
experience provided the liaison with everyone concerned and travelled
to Auckland to meet with the designer - Emma Alsweiler and generally
made things tick.
That we are able to publish
at such a modest price is excellent, a huge thank you to Avelyn
Davidson. Thank you also to Emma for her fine design work. Details
about distribution and costs are a separate issue but it is the
trustees hope that this milestone will provide useful information,
give further impetus to their work and hopefully lead to a revised
edition in due course.
Ladies and gentlemen,
it is my pleasure to formally launch New Zealand Gardens of Significance:
Guidebook. Congratulations to all the gardeners on their achievement,
thanks to all those who helped put it together and to the publishers
for bringing this to fulfilment.
Gordon Collier, Trustee
and Garden Assessor, New Zealand Gardens Trust.