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Growing history

"Well since I became interested in gardening, I’ve always seen gardens as kind of living museums and the things in them as emblems of a time and also of a place. ...and it’s not just long-lived plants like trees, it's cuttings from shrubs and perennials, and bulbs that get passed on down the generations like the laying on of hands down the generations. "

James Armitage, RHS Botanist and Editor of RHS Plant Review. Travelling Back in Time (2023).

"...and that's the most important thing when you plant something, not just putting it in but to know the history of it and where it come from and why it got there and this is what it's all about. It's to leave a living library."

John Harris, Head gardener, Trellisian House, Cornwall. Rick Stein's Cornwall. Episode 1. (2021).

"Gardens make history come alive more than anything else. You smell the same smells, you touch the same plants, you use the same tools and here is the same face and the same hands. It's wonderful!" 

Monty Don, 'Painting Paradise - The Art of the Garden'.  Royal Collection Trust.  The Queens Gallery.  Buckingham Palace (2015).

Heritage Gardeners 2020

From left. Pam, Paul, Lorna, Pat, Claire M (in front) and Claire B. 

About us

The Heritage Gardeners are community volunteers from Glenside and neighbouring suburbs.

Our purpose is to develop the garden of the historic Halfway House at Glenside in the style of when the house was built. This is done by using plants and features that would have been typical of an 1840-1900 rural settlement to achieve a country look and feel. We use plants that were in New Zealand before 1900.

Duke of Edinburgh's International Award

We are accredited award providers with the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award, teaching gardening skills.

Moth and Butterfly Friendly Habitat

We are a moth and butterfly habitat friendly garden, certified by the Moths and Butterflies of NZ Trust in 2021.

The Halfway House

This Halfway House dates from c1880 and was built for Alexander and Margaret Brown, who managed the Halfway House way-station, or mail coach stop for horses close by at the entrance to the lane. The old Halfway House burned down in 1891. It had stood at the lane entrance since at least 1849. The first Halfway House near here was owned and occupied by the Wall family in 1842. The c1880 house is believed to have been built as the Browns private home however the name Halfway House was associated with the land and stayed. The house is a listed Heritage Building and the land on which it stands is a gazetted Historic Reserve.

Operating principles

We operate on the principle that anyone can be a heritage gardener and contribute in some way. Our youngest gardeners began at age 6 and our oldest contributor is over 80.

How we garden

Sourcing early settler plants from old gardens.

Raising historic flowers and shrubs from seed and cuttings at home to plant in the garden.

Weeding, mulching, pruning and planting.

Selling heritage plants and seeds at our community events to raise funds.

Researching plants in museums, libraries and on the internet.

Field trips to visit historic gardens to get ideas and learn.

Bringing friends and family to the garden to visit and enjoy.

We achieve our purpose to create a Victorian farm garden by:

Working to an agreed landscape plan developed in consultation with Wellington City Council.

Striving to only use plants that would have been available and used in the locality pre 1900.

Retaining a busy farming family feel about the place.

Planting to encourage native birds, butterflies, moths and insects. This includes leaving dead wood and wild areas for lizards and other small creatures.

Where possible, planting eco-sourced native plants in suitable locations, such as along the stream-bank.

Replacing pest plants with Plant Me Instead recommended plants.

Providing plants lists to Council, to ensure that any plantings are appropriate to the site. For example, no pest plants, or plants that are too large for the proposed planting site.

Pest eradication such as o‘possums, rats and stoats, as part of the Glenside Predator Free programme.

Learning and sharing our knowledge of heritage plants. This is at community events or through other initiatives, such as the Glenside Progressive Assn. Inc. website and Glenside Facebook pages.

We recognise our role to respect and preserve archaeological features of the land and undertake this in consultation with Wellington City Council.


We operate as ‘The Heritage Gardeners’. We meet at agreed times as a working-bee, or as a committee at the historic Halfway House. Records are kept of our meetings and decisions made. Donations are recorded and receipted.

Key partners

Wellington City Council Parks & Reserves Team and the Glenside Progressive Assn. Inc. are our key partners.

We are an umbrella group under the Glenside Progressive Assn. Inc. The Assn. has agreed to care for our finances. The Assn. operate under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Wellington City Council relating to their activity in the Reserve. This requires us to have at least one member of the Assn. working with us and acting as a liaison between the Assn. and ourselves.

Other important relationships

Our boundary neighbours include the tenants in the Wellington City Council care-takers house; the Glenside Riding Club, the lessee/tenant of Glenside Reserve, Twigland Gardeners World, and the Monterey residents, particularly those residents facing the Halfway House and its environs.