A Spectacular Start to Spring

16 September 2014

There’s no better way to mark the end of winter than in colourful style at Wellington’s parks and gardens from 20–28 September.

Young girl sitting behind plants in pots

The Otari-Wilton’s Bush plant sale on Saturday 20 September is a must for greenthumbs of all ages

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This year’s Spring Festival launches with the annual open day at Otari-Wilton’s Bush – New Zealand’s native botanic garden. See the reserve at its best on Saturday 20 September – you can pick up a few native plants for the garden at the annual plant sale, enjoy a special guided walk, have a bite to eat, and be one of the first visitors to the new Leonard Cockayne Centre.

Based in a former curator’s house that was built in 1926, the new centre is named in honour of botanist and Otari-Wilton’s Bush founder Dr Leonard Cockayne. It will be opened by Mayor Celia Wade-Brown at 9.30am, after which keen gardeners can choose from 1000 native plants at the sale. Varieties up for grabs include the ever-popular kaka beak, Marlborough rock daisy and New Zealand clematis.

If high-stakes gardening is more your thing, join the Otari guides at 11am for macabre stories about poisonous plants. In the afternoon, Otari’s knowledgeable volunteers will lead two fascinating walks through the gardens and forest. Along with spring blossoms galore, visitors to Wellington Botanic Garden this Spring Festival can also enjoy talks and tours, the 70th anniversary of Tulip Sunday, and a special day for young nature lovers. Tulip Sunday is a day when we celebrate our connection with the Dutch community and welcome the new season. Look out for traditional Dutch food stalls and entertainment at the Soundshell.

Kids’ Day Out on Saturday 27 September is a fun day of activities for the whole family. Make a garden for dinosaurs, meet the String Beans puppets, get your face painted or do some flax weaving. It’s also a chance to see the site and talk with the team about the Children’s Garden, which opens in early 2016.