Marvelling at the beautiful trees in Masterton’s Queen Elizabeth Park now comes with the added bonus of knowing the exact species you are admiring, thanks to an initiative by some passionate park enthusiasts.
‘Friends of the Park’ have had made “arboreta-type signs” that are being attached to the trees. The signs give the botanical name, common name, geographical origin and date of cultivation, plus one or two other details of interest.
“Each sign says something about the tree that we think might attract people’s attention,” says Friends of the Park member Alan Fielding.
In the case of the Sequoiadendron Giganteum it is simply the “Big Tree”, one of the world’s largest and oldest trees. There are 17 “Big Trees” in Queen Elizabeth Park, but only one will be labelled.
“We won’t be labelling every single tree, instead just one of each variety,” Mr Fielding says.
The project, complete with a sign to be erected at the entrance to the park on Dixon Street, creates a “Tree Walk” that brings an added interest to stroll through Queen Elizabeth Park, he says.
“This is one of the best collection of trees anyway in New Zealand, particularly in a comparable-sized town. The variety is just incredible.
“The planting of these trees was amazing foresight,” Mr Fielding says.
Many of the trees date back pre-1900.
Asked what his personal favourite is, Mr Fielding says: “Honestly, all of them.”
Masterton District Council Manager of Community Facilities and Activities, Andrea Jackson, says Council is very appreciative of the ‘Friends of the Park’ initiative.
“Our park is so beautiful, and this project is another way of showing respect to these magnificent trees,” Ms Jackson says.