Arboretum growing its appeal with new gardens and community hub
The Percy Thomson Trust has announced the construction and planting of two new native gardens and a community seating area at the Thomson Arboretum; a botanical garden of native flora adjoining Stratford’s Windsor Park.
The development includes a new entrance garden to entice people into the arboretum, and an accessibility-friendly central garden space with seating to encourage people to stay and enjoy the special native plantings.
Construction will begin at the end of March 2023 and should finish late April, but some preparation has already begun.
Jim Clarkson, trustee member, says it’s the first new development for the Thomson Arboretum since its establishment in 2001.
“The arboretum is a really special place. We’ve planted over 100 different native species, including plants that are significant to Taranaki, but right now there’s no place for people to relax,” says Jim.
“With these developments, we’re hoping to draw people into the heart of the arboretum, give them a reason to stay, and help our community become more aware of this incredible native garden right in their backyard.”
Helen Cloke, trustee member, says this project is just the beginning, with more being planned for the future.
“The next stage is looking at funding for a large sculptural piece. Then a nature playground for tamariki, with tree stumps, boulders, and fun things to explore and clamber over,” says Helen.
“We want to bring in more educational aspects, so whānau, school groups, and anyone who’s interested can learn more about the special native plants we have here. It’s about growing interest in the arboretum and connecting it back to the community.”
Percy Thomson MBE (1884 – 1962), a former Stratford Mayor, left a significant bequest to be used for an arboretum, herbarium and an art gallery in the Stratford District.
Stratford District Council established the Percy Thomson Trust in 2002 with the responsibility for the ongoing management of the Percy Thomson Gallery, the Thomson Arboretum and the Thomson Herbarium.