Central Park to Go Daffy in Spring

13 May 2009

Central Park will be awash with daffodils this spring, thanks to the efforts of more than 30 civic-minded volunteers.

Around 13,000 daffodil bulbs will be planted tomorrow (Thursday
14 May) and Friday by around 25 young people on the YMCA job seekers' programme, alongside corporate volunteers from the Cancer Society, Morrison Kent lawyers and IAG New Zealand Limited. Council parks staff and Friends of Central Park will also help with the mass planting, which will take place rain or shine.

The Council's Environment Portfolio Leader, Councillor Celia Wade-Brown, says the Council is thrilled to have volunteers - organised by Volunteer Wellington - helping with this important job.

"This is one of the larger mass plantings we've done and it would have been ten times harder without these volunteers. Thanks to them - and the Plimmer Bequest which funded the upgrade work - Central Park will be looking fabulous in a few months."

"The first flowers might bloom as early as July but, with the different varieties flowering at different times, Central Park will certainly be the place to be between August and October this year. And it won't just be a sea of yellow flowers around the park entrance in spring - we've got pink, red and white daffodils in the mix as well."

The bulbs were sourced through the National Daffodil Society of New Zealand, and commercial growers and Daffodil Society members John and Marie Hunter and Kevin Johnston donated many bulbs. The rest were bought at a cost of $5,000.

"Not all the bulbs will flower this year so keep watching over the next few years - daffodil bulbs last a long time and it's going to get better and better," says Cr Wade-Brown.

This planting is part of a much wider $1.2 million upgrade of Central Park, aimed at improving accessibility, visibility and safety, and upgrading the tracks and toilets. The upgrade work started last year and is nearly complete.

The money for the Central Park upgrade - and the daffodils - has come from the Plimmer Bequest, a fund set aside by Charles Plimmer to improve Wellington City parks, beaches and coastal areas. Charles Plimmer was a successful businessman and property owner who was born in a cottage on the Plimmer Steps in 1849 and died in 1930.

Work will start around 9.30am both days and media are welcome to attend. If members of the public would like to help in Central Park on an ongoing basis, Friends of Central Park welcomes new members and meets on the last Sunday of every month.

The corporate volunteers are participating as part of the Nikau Foundation Corporate Challenge.