When the first European settlers arrived on the beach at Petone in 1840, the land they expected to turn into a city was heavily forested and swampy. After several months, the New Zealand Company decided to develop some flat land at the far end of the harbour, now known as Thorndon, and the settlement of Wellington had begun. Plants and seeds were the most precious things the settlers brought with them. As soon as they could, they began to clear the land and plant. In November 1841, the first Horticultural Society was formed, and after ten days it had 103 members. The Society was seen as a way of bringing settlers and local M ori together, and a means to share seeds, plants, cuttings, produce and expertise. This book tells the story of the Wellington landscape, and its private and public gardens, from colonial times to the present. It looks in detail at key plantsmen and gardeners in the nineteenth century in Wellington and the Hutt Valley, gives a history of gardens of special interest and describes the development of the Botanic Gardens and the Town Belt. Wellington's distinctive wildflowers are also well illustrated.
Shortlisted for Montana New Zealand Book Awards: Environment and Heritage Category 2001.
Winsome Shepherd is a graduate of Auckland University in botany and zoology. She is an Associate of Honour of the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture. She is the author of several books, a history of Wellington's Botanic Garden (co-authored with Walter Cook). Her previous book, Gold and Silversmithing in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century New Zealand (Te Papa Press, 1995), won the Illustrative Arts category of the 1996 Montana Book Awards, and she was awarded the ONZM for services to New Zealand heritage in 1998.