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New Zealand Home & Building, October-November 1985

The Garden of Government House

The Garden of Government House

The Beatties did not confine their energies to the interior of Government House. The garden was attacked with equal vigour. Lady Beattie modestly calls herself "a bit of a horticulturist with a love of Latin words". In fact during the five years more than 2,000 trees and shrubs have been planted. One thousand agapanthus were traded for some deciduous trees from a local nursery. Camelia societies have donated trees, as has the Pukeiti Park in New Plymouth, bulbs came from Gore and Ashburton and other bits and pieces from garden lovers all over the country.

How did Lady Beattie do it? "I asked them — how would you like to see yourself in our garden".

The bottom of the garden was a frightful wind tunnel so a lot of pruning and wholesale cutting down of pine trees has gone on to improve the quality of the soil and by planting more appropriate trees the garden will be better prepared over future years to withstand the Wellington winds.

Staff preserve a lot of produce grown in the garden. Government House dinners often feature home-made berry ice cream and much goes into conserves for the pantry.

The tennis court have been upgraded. Not only the Beattie family use this facility but the staff and their families as well. Head gardener John Leech has an excellent team, some are PEP and go on to jobs in Wellington Parks and other areas.

And by the way did you know the lawns must be mown in a strict pattern when the Governor General is in residence? When he's away the lawnmower's at play and they can reverse the pattern.

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