Our Wellington

News | 27 May 2021

Why on earth are we growing herbs and vegetables?

Wellington City Council is proud of its beautiful flower beds and plants on display around Pōneke – but why on earth do some of these include parsley and silverbeet?

Image of silverbeet and parsley and brick at the Railway Station

Horticultural Manager Martin Simonlehner says: “We plant what performs the best in the conditions that Wellington throws at us. The Railway Station area is windy, and most of the plant beds are covered by the shade of buildings during the winter.   

“Eagle eyed passers-by will have spotted the parsley and silverbeet growing there right now. There’s a science behind that decision. We look at crop rotation, disease in the soil that stops us planting common varieties, the climate (windy), and shadowing.   

“We use a detailed risk sheet to try and mitigate loss and a replant in all the beds. Winter planting options are not great on the Railway Station site when you use the risk matrix - hence the herb and vegetables. When the cycle is over, we have even been known in past years to give them away to commuters on their way home.   

“All our plants in the beds around the city are on a twice year rotation, winter displays and summer displays (winter goes in early April to late September – summer is October to end of March). We plant around 33,000 per cycle.”   

Other plant displays maintained by Martin’s team can be found at:   

  • Michael Fowler Centre corner by Jervois/Wakefield Street 
  • Post Office Square  
  • Lambton Quay 
  • Tawa roundabouts x 2 
  • Tawa sign (entrance to Tawa) 
  • Queen Victoria statue (opposite Cambridge Hotel) 
  • Johnsonville roundabout 
  • Karori Cemetery   

If you’re full of beans to take some home when the cycle is up in September, don’t get in a pickle, just keep an eye on our Facebook or Twitter channels for the announcement – and remember to give them a good wash before you veg out!