The Albert Edward Oak is the oldest tree in the Botanical Gardens.
This tree was planted on 9 July 1863 in celebration of the marriage of Prince Albert to Princess Alexandra of Denmark. This tree is now regarded to be the beginning of the gardens that we know today.
On the same day, another Oak was planted at the intersection of Ferry Road (was then known as Sumner Road) and the East Belt (Fitzgerald Ave) by Mrs. R. Bealey, Mrs. F. Fitzgerald, Mrs. G. Bowen and Mrs. R. Hall, the wives of four of our most influential politicians in Canterbury. Sadly this Oak is no longer with us. This tree and the Albert Edward Oak were gifted to the city by William ‘Cabbage’ Wilson, a nurseryman who also served Christchurch as its first Mayor in 1868.
Prior to 1863, the gardens were mainly wetlands and sand dunes, believe it or not. I can’t imagine what it took to give us the gardens that were to “be reserved forever as a public park, and to be open for the recreation and enjoyment of the public” – as written in 1855.
The Albert Edward Oak can be found south west of the Archery Lawn, close to the Avon.
* Image courtesy of Chris Bulovic*