Washbourn Gardens, Richmond
Located just off Oxford Street in Richmond. If a peaceful picnic lunch is what you're after, it's just the spot but there's also plenty to investigate.
- Toilets (including fully accessible)
- Display House
- Historic Building
The Fuchsia House was proposed by the Waimea South Garden Club and funding came from most other garden clubs in the district and the Fuschia Society. It was built by the Richmond Borough Council in 1987. The fuchsias thrive in this environment and put on a spectacular show of colour.
The Old Richmond Gaol is a point of historical interest. It was relocated to it's current site in the gardens in 1992 and restored thanks to the joint efforts of Richmond Rotary and Tasman District Council.
The Fernery was completed in 1996 and was a project of Friends of Washbourn Gardens.
The Begonia House - another Rotary project, is an amazing sight during the summer months with over 200 potted begonias and hanging baskets blazing a mass of vibrant colours. The begonias in the house are looked after by the Ian Thorn Memorial Begonia Trust. In winter the display is created by beautiful orchids, many of which were donated by Mr Harvey.
The Currie Gazebo was completed in 2000 after a huge fundraising effort, again by the Friends of Washbourn Gardens and a generous contribution from Tasman District Council. It's a popular spot for wedding photographs, especially over summer.
The Gardens take their name from Doctor Washbourn who owned the house and all the land right up to Hill Street in the early part of last century. The house was built in 1924 but sadly Doctor Washbourn died in 1926. Doctor Currie then purchased the property and he was responsible for a lot of the planting on the property. Dr Currie also added a tennis court, croquet court, glasshouse, an extensive rose garden, water lily pond and a large vegetable garden. He also kept cows and some hens on the property and did much of the work himself but still needed to employ a full time gardener. In these pre-war days it must have been one of the most stunning gardens in the area and the regular Saturday Tennis parties held there were a highlight of the town's social calendar. Doctor Currie died in 1939 and ownership of the property passed to his widow, and then in turn his son, Ted Currie who both worked hard to maintain the wonderful garden that had been created. The area had been zoned by Council as a future public park, both for it's proximity to town and so it could be used as a flood retention site to help alleviate the flooding problem that sometimes saw floodwaters come down as far as Queen Street. The area in the gardens where the duck pond is located works as a flood retention pond and the slipway at the top of it allows any further water to drain safely away. Mr Currie sold this portion of the property to Council in 1976 and the rest of the land and house was sold to council in 1987 but the house and it's immediate land was sold two years later. The Gardens have been under Council control since that time and currently all the maintenance work is contracted out.
Friends of Washbourn Gardens were formed in 1993 and had been the driving force behind a lot of the improvements in the gardens,until recently when they disbanded. They held an annual fete to help raise funds for various projects.
Washbourn Gardens is managed by Tasman District Council.