The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 5: Gardens in Asia, America, Africa, Australia

Garden nurseries in New Zealand

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942. Nurseries in New Zealand. The first nursery in the colony appears to have been established early in 1844 by Mr. William Trotter, formerly gardener to J. T. Brook, Esq., of Flitwick House. Mr. Trotter went out to New Zealand with his wife and a family of two sons and two daughters in May 1843 ; and, in a letter dated May, 1844, he savs, ' I have taken a few acres in the valley of the Hutt, where I intend to establish a fruit-garden and nursery : it is one of sweetest spots that ever was beheld by the eyes of man. The beautiful river Hutt incloses one part of it, and the other is belted by a range of mountains, which are crowned by the most splendid trees from 50 to 150 feet high ; and out of respect to you, my dear sir, I have called it 'Loudon's Vale.' We have had two horticultural shows since I have been here, at which I was one of the judges both times; and it would surprise you to see what the place produces, although it is, as it were, only four years old. There is a beautiful native Ribes here, which grows forty or fifty feet high, on which I have budded both the gooseberry and the currant, both of which have taken well and are growing amazingly. I have also budded the pear upon the white-thorn, which is doing well. In fact, budding and grafting may be carried on here all the year round.' In another letter from Mr. Trotter, dated the 2d of January, 1846, he says, 'I suppose you saw in my former letter about my succeeding so well in grafting and budding fruit trees, especially pears on white-thorns, which I assure you make most handsome trees. I have a row of apple trees before my own door about fifteen months old, fully four feet high, and branching out into splendid heads. There are also trees of my working, which bore apples this year. We have had a splendid crop of fruit this season, considering the age of the trees, over at Messrs. Molesworth and Ludlam's garden, which has been under my care ever since I came to the Hutt. I was obliged yesterday to thin out the apples on two or three of the trees, as they were hanging a great deal too thick; they are now about the size of hens' eggs. We have also a nice little vinery. I planted the vines fifteen months ago, and I never saw any thing go on so rapidly and make such fine wood in all my life; and there are a few bunches on them this year, which will be exhibited at the horticultural show-the first grapes that have ever been grown in the colony. I have a few bunches also showing out of doors, which I have every reason to believe will come to perfection, we have such a fine autumn and winter here. I took six first prizes at the fruit-show last year, and I expect to take a few more this year. I have some splendid melons and cucumbers coming on. In fact, everything looks well, for we have a beautiful soil and a beautiful climate.' (Gard. Chron. for 1846, p. 659.)