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The New Zealand Garden – Valley Gardens, Harrogate


At our last speaker meeting on the 15th May, Sue Wood, Horticultural Development Officer for North Yorkshire Council, gave a fascinating insight into the history and development of the New Zealand Garden, in the English Heritage Grade 2 listed Garden,  Valley Gardens in Harrogate. Sue is also a judge for various agencies including Britain in Bloom and the RHS specialising in tender plants.

Sue described herself as a ‘plantaholic’ in her role for NYC. She gave a very interesting and illustrated presentation about the original development of the New Zealand Garden within Valley Gardens in the 1950s, including its links to Wellington, Harrogate Town Twinning and the Royal New Zealand Air Force. And, its revival and re-planting in 2023. Sue described the difficulties and challenges in creating a garden using native New Zealand plants in cold and wet Yorkshire soil.


The garden’s revival in 2023, that marked the 70th Anniversary of Twinning of Harrogate with Wellington,  included a beautiful sculpture by Jennifer Tetlow and is called the Pikorua and in Maori tradition represents an eternal bond between people and cultures.

We recorded the presentation and shared with our Friendship Link Soroptimist International of Wellington.