From the left. Back: Carolyn, Joan. Front: Claire, Anna, Paul, Sabah. Absent: Patricia, Lorna, Clare, Heather and Hazel.
"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).
The Heritage Gardeners are community volunteers from Glenside and neighbouring suburbs. Our purpose is to develop the grounds of the historic Halfway House at Glenside in the style of the era in which it 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.
The Halfway House
The Halfway House dates from c1885 and was built for Alexander and Margaret Brown, who managed a way-station, or coach stop for horses close by. The house is believed to have been built as their private home however the name Halfway House stayed with the house after the old Halfway House at the entrance to the lane, burned down in 1891. The earlier Halfway House had stood since 1849 and possibly as early as 1841.
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.
Giving the physically fit people the heavier work.
Selling heritage plants 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, such as leaving dead wood and wild areas.
Planting to encourage native birds, butterflies, moths and insects.
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 want to become organic certified.
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.
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
We have a responsibility to maintain cordial relationships with our boundary neighbours. These boundary neighbours include the tenants in the Wellington City Council care-takers house; the Glenside Riding Club and any future lessee or tenant of Glenside Reserve, Twigland Gardeners World, and the Monterey residents, particularly those residents facing the Halfway House and its environs.