News | 19 November 2021

Why you should turn your lawn into a meadow

The team at Botanic Garden ki Paekākā are putting down their mowers and growing a meadow on Glenmore Lawn. Find out why you should do the same.

A green meadow full of yellow buttercups with blue sky in the background.

Just up past the duckpond, beside Glenmore Road is a section of knee-high grass, scattered with yellow buttercups and white daisies. This is Glenmore Lawn Meadow, the first meadow to be grown in the Botanic Garden ki Paekākā. 

The meadow was created in 2018 as part of the Botanic Garden 150th Anniversary Celebrations and is now a permanent feature. The lawn used to be plain and manicured, but now it is an English style meadow, with mown pathways that allow people to wander through.

A turquoise sign with text that reads

For Team Leader of Grounds & Trees, Cory Meister, meadows mean less maintenance, and a greener approach to gardening.  

“Because we no longer mow the whole area, we are using less fuel which means lower carbon emissions. And because it is no longer kept as a fine lawn, we also don’t need to use chemicals to control weeds. Instead we allow non-invasive plants and flowers to seed and hand weed out any nasties. All of this results in a smaller environmental impact.” 

“Meadows are also great for promoting biodiversity. Insects and butterflies love them, not to mention bees. We actually have our own hives here at Glenmore Lawn that are looked after by local beekeepers and the honey they produce is sometimes sold at the Treehouse Visitor Centre.”

Several pink and grey beehives sitting in a grassy field in front of a tree with bees swarming around them.

Cory explains that while the area is mostly green right now, his team will soon be planting it with annual, perennials and lots of colourful wildflowers.  

“In a couple of years, it’s really going to take off. We already have daffodil bulbs in the ground for next spring and there is more to come. We’re also planting other areas around the meadow to tie it all together.”

A photo looking up through grass and buttercups to a blue sky with some white fluffy clouds.

Walking through the meadow, you can see patches where people have sat down in the grass, possibly for a picnic or just a moment of peace. Cory has noticed more people are now walking through the meadow rather than the concrete path alongside it.  

“People really seem to love it. Maybe because it’s so different to the other parts of the garden which are more manicured. It has a lot of character.”

A row of hornbeam trees which create a hedge between a green meadow and a concrete path.

The Glenmore Lawn Meadow is lined by 150 hornbeam trees planted by staff new and old in honour of the 150th anniversary. They are small now but will eventually grow into a thick hedge to enclose the meadow like a secret garden.  

Be sure to explore the meadow for yourself next time you visit the Botanic Garden ki Paekākā. Just head past the duckpond towards Glenmore Road and you'll discover it on your right.