Gardening with Nature

I was invited by Richard V. Piacentini of the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA to present in a session at BGCI today called “When Less Bad is Not Good Enough Anymore: Lessons and Leading for a Regenerative World”.

Richard has been awarded numerous environmental awards and is an honour to be invited to speak at this session which includes Mike Maunder from the Eden Project (Cornwall UK).  Richard wants us to inspire gardens to address major human and environmental problems by creating positive change and motivate people at the session to take action in their own organisation.




Our sustainable journey at Auckland Botanic Gardens is led by our Manager Jack Hobbs.  When I started at the Gardens in 2012  I’d worked with the Gardens since 1997 on a number of threatened plant projects but I really had no idea that I was about to work in a place where my personal values lined up exactly with those of the work of the Gardens.

Minimising chemicals: We grow 375 different cultivars and species of roses in 4 gardens and we stopped the use of insecticides, miticides and fungicides 14 years ago.

Picture1 Growing & breeding plants that do well in Auckland: Begonia trial 2016

Begonia trial summer 2016-17 (4)

Not micromanaging lawns (and researching meadows):


Conserving threatened plants (this is the “Hobsonville Kakapo” Epilobium hirtigerum):

Epilobium hirtigerum (10)Researching garden plants that don’t become weeds (sterile Agapanthus weed research):


Using plants to slow and clean-up storm water:


We walk this talk but we also share it with our visitors, including kids who learn at ABG most days of the week in curriculum based programmes and everyday in the Potter Children’s Garden.

LTE BG trees-044.jpg

So – I beg to differ Kermit – we find it really easy to be green and I hope in my talk I conveyed this!



One Comment Add yours

  1. Mary says:

    What great work you all do at the Botanic Gardens. Great to see Epi featuring!

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