Apricot Fancy Sir Edmund Hilary

Gilded Sunrise Allen's Surprise
The former National Garden of the
New Zealand Rhododendron Association
Haggerty Street, Kimbolton
Manawatu, New Zealand

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Garden Convenorís Annual Report 2018

It is my pleasure to present the Heritage Park Garden Management Committee Report on behalf of the committee for 2018.

After the heady rush of conference preparation and hosting it was most relaxing to begin the year in February with a BBQ for conference garden owners and helpers. On reflection the spin-off from conference has been most rewarding. Heritage Park has proved itself to be a rhododendron garden of note amongst rhododendron circles. We had park directors, plant experts, garden designers attending conference, and all were most complimentary of the garden, and were willing to return as management would appreciate their evaluation and assistance. Issues such as our conservation collections, rhododendron rejuvenation and the challenges of sustaining volunteer gardening!
Conference is a wonderful place to renew friendships and to share information. We are fortunate to have Heritage Park members on the Conservation Committee with Lindsay Davies as Chairman. This is proving invaluable in sourcing endangered NZ hybrids rhododendrons. Our conference plants propagated by Rodney Wilson was one way we put into action the sharing of endangered plant material. In some instances, there is only one existing plant and the following rhododendrons have been spread around NZ; R.` Kit Collierí R.` Catherine Fairbankí, R.` Catherine Collier x nuttallii. Forth coming conference planners have taken up the batten and are propagating endangered plants.

Sue Davies and Rodney Wilson continue to propagate our plants and we are especially grateful to Sue and Lindsay who have spent considerable time, energy and money collecting cuttings from around the country. Sue has recently added sixty species to be planted in the species block. Planting is slow as we have learnt from bitter experience that rabbit guards are needed. Plants without a guard are quickly reduced to sticks.
Conference has also attracted new members and we are pleased most are local. Management will leave the Conference financial gain to the treasurer, only to add we can provide the shopping list!

Arborist 

 Fraser Robinsonís services were called upon before conference as we battled with the extra work created by the massive snow dump last July and the damage it caused. Management was very proud of the response from all the Heritage Park team, resulting in the garden being tidy for visitors. Alison Short arranged for our snow damaged slash to be mulched by council in our car park, saving us time and energy in not having to branches to the village depot. Fraser has this year cut out seedling trees, large trees shading areas and conifers. This was a very slick operation with the Heritage families taking suitable timber away and the rest being offered for firewood. Management is very grateful for Fraserís mulching machine, which he so generously allows us to use, resulting in quick tidy ups. Hopefully we will have one more session with Fraser this year to selectively cut out the over planted back northern boundary, in preparation for an access track to be widen, this coming summer.


Rhododendron Hybrid Collections

Williamsianum hybrids are doing well in the gardens at the top of the path down into the park. We are looking for two more plants one being R. `Dormouseí.

Unhealthy azaleas due to shading are to be culled and the latest new azaleas from Cross Hills and Blue Mountain Nurseries be added to the garden where the conifers have been removed.

The yakushimanum garden has been sprayed and straw put on the beds in preparation for planting. Management appreciated the advice given by Gordon Collier as to where to site the gardens. We wanted the design to tie in with the front border, show casing plants and rhododendrons suitable for smaller gardens.


Species

Sixty to be added to the species gardens.

Signage

The two main information panels were erected before the conference, with the final two being funded by Eastern and Central Community Trust. They have been most supportive of this project and have funded all the signs within the garden. Sonia Frimmel from Pirongia, in the Waikato, has designed and organised the construction of the signs.


Other Happenings

Late last year we had Mike Wells, stump grinder, demolish five stumps in lawns around the garden, greatly improving the ease of mowing lawns. The most recent trees removed have been in garden beds so not so urgent to get rid of stumps.

The container area has been tidied up and put into lawn, with the metal track edged.
The north corner has had a big team go in and pull out seedling gums, Himalayan fuchsia, conifers and tree Lucerne in preparation for future planting of big leaf rhododendrons. As access is rather difficult this area will remain rather wild until trees, shrubs and rhododendrons grow. A proposed crossing may be put in when we can get Tony McIntyre to return to deal with other work delayed because of wet conditions.

Our plants people took part in the inaugural Kimbolton Sculptural Festival which was most successful and raised a sum of $550. Thank you to Daryl and Linda Rowan and Mary Manning.
Management is very appreciative of work done by trustee Albert James who keeps us up to date with health and safety requirements. Albert comes from a background of park management and is familiar with procedures and recording.

As convenor I would like to thank all on the team, management, trustees and volunteers. There is a very cooperative spirit amongst the team and I am grateful to folk who come up to the park outside working bees to complete tasks. Iím sure all the activity at Heritage Park keeps us fit and healthy!

Mike and I took over out duties in 2013 and we would now like to find someone to take over our roles. We both love Heritage Park; the only negative is the distance we must travel from Te Kuiti and the difficulty of dealing with some issues from the King Country. We have become school holidays grandparents in Hobart and this is beginning to clash with our duties. I am happy to assist a new convenor over the coming year.

Sue Wagstaff
Convenor




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