FULL STEAM AHEAD: Garden guru Eion, centre, and Ann Scarrow are among supporters of the proposed Great Chelsea Gardens, the brainchild of Graham Milne.
Garden guru Eion Scarrow is throwing his weight behind a large-scale garden concept for Birkenhead.
“I’ve just retired and I wanted something to get my teeth into,” the former TV garden show star says. “Bang, it’s turned my life around.”
Enthusiasm for the multicultural themed Great Chelsea Gardens proposal is growing despite a setback involving the North Shore City Council.
There was not enough time to assess the garden trust’s application for a 10-year lease of Rawene Reserve before the changeover to supercity, a parks report says.
A group of 10 residents in the recently formed Friends of Rawene Reserve is pleased to hear this. Rawene Rd resident Louise Champion is among those sceptical over the elaborate plans for individually themed gardens in the valleys between Highbury and the Chelsea Sugar Refinery.
The group was formed after the residents became concerned about the garden plans, saying the area was unsuitable for such an attraction.
They are submitting a plan to the council to instead plant the area with native bush.
But Mr Milne says plans for the gardens are running full steam ahead.
“We already own the key piece of land, over two acres. We don’t need anything else. We’re sitting in the middle, holding the trump card if you like.”
The Unitec School of Architecture is undertaking a study of the area’s ecology to find out what plants will be best for the area and its inhabitants including native birds and frogs.
Mr Milne says it’s “fantastic” to also have Mr Scarrow on board.
Mr Scarrow has offered to donate native trees for the gardens’ hilly backdrop.
“I’ve contacted buddies overseas who have all said it’s about bloody time something like that was done in New Zealand, those were their exact words,” Mr Scarrow says. “It’ll be a huge boost for tourism, it’s such a logical step.”
Written by: MICHELLE ROBINSON
Photo/s by: BEN WATSON
Reprinted with permission: Auckland Now – North Shore Times