With the employment of the city’s first full time gardener, Enoch Barker in 1867, the Christchurch Botanical Gardens and namely, Hagley Park began to really take shape.
The trees that border Hagley Park, along the side of our main avenues, were planted by him. Before Hagley grew and developed into what we know today, the wasteland was ploughed and used for grazing. As these grounds were also used for sporting events such as cricket, golf, horse races and even hosted the first of what would become the A & P Show. You can imagine quite a few games were interrupted by wandering hoof-stock.
In 1870, the first groups of pines (pictured) were planted by Enoch in the north eastern corner and today are proudly signposted. These still grow alongside Harper Ave and are worth a look.
In 1897, as a part of the celebrations of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, a one-acre swamp was made into the four acre Victoria Lake. Sadly, (some now extinct) native flora were removed during this project.
Hagley Park and the Botanic Gardens have remained a great recreation area for Cantabs, just like the Canterbury Provincial Council of 1855 had hoped for.
For a more in depth look at Hagley Park, please check out the following link: http://www.peelingbackhistory.co.nz/hagley-park/
* Photo courtesy of Annette Bulovic*