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Begonia House is re-opened after earth quake strengthening

Nov 19th, 2012 | By | Category: Latest News, Most Popular, News

THE BEGONIA House in Wellington’s Botanic gardens has seen many visitors enjoying its temperate and tropical plants in the month since re-opening after earth quake strengthening.
The house closed in August for the work, for which $150,000 was put aside in Wellington City Council’s Long Term Plan.

It has had a new coat of paint and has had visitors from tour buses and wedding parties says Botanic Gardens general manager David Sole.

“Unless you knew what you were looking for, you probably wouldn’t notice that anything has changed in the Begonia House,” says Mr Sole.

 The tropical segment, which houses a large lily pond first installed in 1989, was the last to be finished.

 He says no revenue was lost as there is no entry fee and the work was also carried out at a quiet time of year. 

“Shortly before spring was a very good time to get the work done,” he says.

WCC’s Neville Brown says the intention was to add extra bracing and framing to the 50-year-old building as part of the council’s earthquake resilience programme.

In August Mr Brown said the work would be relatively quick and easy to complete.

The glass house was closed for only three weeks while the strengthening was done. It is now open again in time for the spring crowds.

 Begonia House gardener Nonda Katsos says the temperate part of the house opened in September, along with the Picnic Cafe and gift shop, and the tropical end opened a month later.

“It was a big job, but we managed to look after all the plants well. Only the hibiscus flowers are taking a while to settle back in,” he says.

Mr Katsos says that everything is in place and ready for the summer.

 “In January we will start to move all the begonias back in here. People from begonia societies all over the country go gaga over the size of our blooms.”

He says the re-strengthening work was also a good time to update the gardens’ collection of tropical plants, including special orchids and ferns, which will gradually be introduced.

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