“Right at the beginning of Spring, Broadgreen is popping, it’s crazy.”

Nelson’s beautiful public gardens are a feature of our Smart Little City that we can all be proud of. Whether you’re taking a stroll through the Miyazu Japanese Gardens, or enjoying street food at Isel Park’s Twilight Market they offer a relaxing space for locals and visitors to the region alike.

That’s why Council is thrilled to announce that after being assessed by the New Zealand Gardens Trust (NZGT) two of our gardens have been elevated to a higher star rating. 

Broadgreen Rose Garden has gone from 4* to a 5* Garden of National Significance, and Isel Park has gone from 3* to 4* Garden of Significance. Queens Gardens and Miyazu Japanese Gardens both maintained their 5* rating.

Community services chair Matt Lawrey says Nelson’s stunning public gardens were testament to the hard work and expertise of Nelmac staff and dedicated volunteers.

“While the recognition is more than welcome, I don’t think it’ll come as a surprise to many people. If there is one thing that Nelsonians agree on, it’s that we’re blessed with beautiful parks and gardens, and that our staff and Nelmac do a wonderful job looking after them. It’s also a credit to dedicated volunteers who do their bit to keep our gardens looking lovely.” 

Sports and Recreation Committee Chair Tim Skinner says the five star rating is well deserved. 

“Council has prioritised work on all of the city’s public gardens, and that’s now paid off with this announcement. The gardens are a vital part of our heritage and a great place for people to relax in a peaceful environment.”

The NZGT described the rose garden at Broadgreen as “beautifully presented… with a brilliant display of blooms in mid-November”. Assessors praised the “large, old trees” at Isel Park and said the “Doryanthus exselsa in full flower was a real showstopper”.

Kate Krawczyk, Nelmac’s Horticultural Parks Team Leader, has twenty years of experience in landscape and garden design and heads up a squad of gardeners with horticultural qualifications from New Zealand and overseas. 

She says Broadgreen House is “the most labour and maintenance intense of the seven horticultural parks of Nelson because of the roses, extensive perennial borders and large lawns”.

“We are so lucky in Nelson. The preserved heritage and beautiful green spaces have long been a priority for NCC and the community and it's paid off. Not many other towns in New Zealand have the gardens and parks and heritage trees that we do.

 “We are looking after someone else's vision and upholding the dreams of the settlers who planted the first gardens and the garden managers that have preceded me. It is a real honour to be the caretaker of their legacy and to continue their work.”

Kate’s deputy Matt Clark took time out from tending to the flower beds at Isel Park to describe what the gardens mean to him.

“Each of our gardens has a unique identity, so there’s something here for everyone. Each garden has native plants integrated, but there’s also a huge variety of exotic plants at places like Church Hill and Queens Gardens. And for people who love a 19th Century style Arts and Crafts house with a stunning rose garden, Broadgreen House is perfect.”

According to Matt, Nelson’s public gardens all have unique themes.

“Isel is a forest and Broadgreen is a centre for roses. There’s been a bit of shift over the past five years in terms of adding things like irrigation, and new planting. That could be why we’re experiencing a bit of a golden age for Nelson’s gardens at the moment.”

Matt was also keen to talk about how the gardens change seasonally.

“Right at the beginning of Spring, Broadgreen is popping, it’s crazy.”