DCC: $6.2M propagation house —Dunedin Botanic Garden

Propagation House at Dunedin Botanic Garden via Ch39

Otago Daily Times Published on Aug 6, 2015
Praise for garden’s ‘striking’ new facility
The biggest investment in the Dunedin Botanic Garden’s history can simulate arid deserts, tropical forests and sub-antarctic islands on the slopes of Signal Hill.

Dunedin City Council – Media Release
Botanic Garden’s New Propagation House Opened

This item was published on 06 Aug 2015

The Dunedin Botanic Garden’s new propagation house is a wonderful addition to the Garden’s celebrated features, Mayor of Dunedin Dave Cull says.

“In many ways the propagation and nursery facilities are the engine room of the Garden. This modern facility provides excellent conditions for plants as they are nurtured before going on public display around the Garden. This impressive new building helps us reinforce our reputation as a Garden of International Significance,” Mr Cull says.

The new propagation house was officially opened this afternoon at a civic opening with invited guests. An open day, at a date to be advised, will be held in spring so members of the public can tour the new facility. The new facility, on Lovelock Avenue, replaces the old and dilapidated glasshouses and plant nursery near the aviary. Work on the $6.2 million project began in October 2013 and the completed building was handed over in May this year.

Botanic Garden (Curator) Team Leader Alan Matchett says the new propagation facility provides the space and technology for the Garden to produce a more extensive range of plants from succulents and cacti, to alpines, tropical, subtropical, and ferns and orchids. The need for an updated facility had been apparent for some years as the former glasshouses, built in the early 1900s, began to deteriorate and the environmental management systems became less energy efficient and inadequate to produce the variety of plants needed by the Garden. The new facility provides about 600sq m of indoor space and has been designed to make the most of natural elements, such as the sun. Environmental conditions in the seven glasshouses can be controlled centrally to suit the different varieties of plants growing in each area. Watering and humidity levels are now computer controlled. The glasshouses can hold more than 12,000 plants, excluding seedlings.

As well as providing plant nursery facilities, the new building provides a base for education activities for school groups, public workshops and demonstrations. It also provides room for the Garden’s long-time supporters, the Friends of the Garden, to work. The new propagation house is the first part of a larger vision for that area of the Garden, which includes establishing a café, and visitors’ centre. Moving the nursery and glasshouses means the site they currently occupy in the upper garden can be developed to achieve its potential as a prime landscape feature.

Contact Dunedin Botanic Garden (Curator) Team Leader on 03 477 4000.
DCC Link

█ 21.1.15 ODT: Propagation unit preview [photographs]

● Culmination of 19-year journey, nursery replaces 90-year facility

### ODT Online Sat, 8 Aug 2015
Praise for garden’s ‘striking’ new facility
By Craig Borley
The biggest investment in the Dunedin Botanic Garden’s history can simulate arid deserts, tropical forests and sub-antarctic islands on the slopes of Signal Hill. The garden’s new propagation and nursery facility was completed in May but officially opened on Thursday, showcasing its seven separate growing environments – alpine, arid succulent, temperate, arid cacti, subtropical, tropical, and propagation.
Read more

● New nursery designed with school groups in mind

### ODT Online Sat, 8 Aug 2015
Maintaining a living museum
By Craig Borley
There are public parks and public gardens with great collections of plants, but they are not botanic gardens, Dunedin Botanic Garden propagation services officer Alice Lloyd-Fitt said yesterday. Explaining why the garden needed a nursery and propagation facility, she said a botanic garden’s point of difference was its role as a living museum. Education, conservation and plant collection roles all mattered, and those roles could not be filled without a functional nursery.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: (top) 39 Dunedin Television – Propagation House [screenshot]


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7 responses to “DCC: $6.2M propagation house —Dunedin Botanic Garden

  1. Elizabeth

    Historical comments pulled from another post: DCC: Council consolidated debt $623 million (26.9.13)

    October 1, 2013 at 11:10 am

    ### ODT Online Tue, 1 Oct 2013
    $6 million work starts in upper garden
    By Nigel Benson
    The Dunedin Botanic Garden is growing. Preliminary work started yesterday on a major redevelopment of the upper garden area. The $6 million project will include new plant nursery facilities, a cafe, visitor centre and viewing platform. ”Replacement of the existing plant nursery facilities has been overdue for many years and it is great to have the project finally under way,” Dunedin City Council parks and recreation services project manager Hamish Black said yesterday. The redevelopment would replace the ”ageing propagation facilities and plant nursery” near the aviary with new facilities where the Botanic Garden centre is sited, in Lovelock Ave. ”The centre will be demolished to make way for the new glasshouses, propagation building and boiler house, but some of the materials will be salvaged and used in other garden projects,” Mr Black said.
    Read more

    ODT Correction: The redevelopment will not include a cafe, visitor centre and viewing platform.

    ### ODT Online Sat, 5 Oct 2013
    Lister Garden extension going well
    By Debbie Porteous
    An extension to the Dunedin Botanic Garden’s Clive Lister Garden is well under way, and a hole has been left for a most controversial worm. Botanic Garden team leader Alan Matchett said all of the landscaping preparation, including drainage, had been completed on the new extension to the garden, and the team was only awaiting delivery of paving stones from Christchurch. Depending on the pavers’ arrival, they would be laid by the end next week, after which the $100,000 sculpture Ouroboros could be installed.
    Read more


    December 17, 2013 at 11:14 am

    See image.

    ### ODT Online Tue, 17 Dec 2013
    Construction work starts for $6 million garden project
    Construction work has begun on a major rebuild of the Dunedin Botanic Garden’s plant nursery and propagation facilities in Lovelock Ave. The $6 million project includes the construction of a new propagation building, glasshouses, nursery and boiler house between the Opoho Bowling Club and the car park beside Opoho Park.
    Read more


    July 27, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    ### ODT Online Sun, 27 Jul 2014
    Botanic Garden project nearing end
    By Dan Hutchinson – The Star
    As work nears completion on a $6 million redevelopment of the Dunedin Botanic Garden propagation buildings and glasshouses, attention is turning to shifting thousands of rare plants and seeds.
    The new development is on target to be completed by October and garden team leader Alan Matchett said all attention would then turn to the big move.
    Read more

    █ Open days would be held in the New Year for members of the public to view the facility.

    ### ODT Online Wed, 19 Feb 2014
    Propagation facilities growing
    Dunedin Botanic Garden’s $6 million plant nursery and propagation facilities in Lovelock Ave are taking shape. The frame of the propagation shed was up (front) and the slab for the glasshouse next to it was being prepared, Dunedin City Council parks and recreation project manager Hamish Black said.
    Read more + Image

    ### dunedintv.co.nz March 17, 2014 – 7:09pm
    Dunedin Botanic Garden’s new Lovelock Ave facilities progressing
    Dunedin Botanic Garden’s $6 million plant nursery and propagation facilities in Lovelock Ave are rapidly taking shape.


    September 10, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    ### dunedintv.co.nz September 10, 2014 – 6:02pm
    Dunedin Botanic Garden construction project near completion
    Work on a $5.5m construction project at the Dunedin Botanic Garden is almost finished. New propagation facilities and glasshouses have been constructed, as well as a boiler house. It’s one of the biggest upgrades in the garden’s 150 year history, but locals can’t see it just yet.


    January 21, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    ### ODT Online Wed, 21 Jan 2015
    Propagation unit preview
    By Debbie Porteous with photos by Stephen Jaquiery
    Testing of a new $6 million redevelopment of the Dunedin Botanic Garden propagation buildings and glasshouses is nearly complete and staff say they are looking forward to moving in.
    Read more + Slideshow


    March 11, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    ### dunedintv.co.nz March 10, 2015 – 5:57pm
    Botanic Garden redevelopment hits snag
    Malfunctioning equipment is delaying progress on a multi-million dollar Dunedin Botanic Garden redevelopment. A new nursery is a modern addition to what is formally recognised as New Zealand’s oldest garden. And while construction of the facility is complete, there’s still work to be done before the first plants can be moved in.


    May 6, 2015 at 11:54 am


    ….not possible to provide the cost of the original limestone chip….

    ### ODT Online Wed, 6 May 2015
    Rough stones on path replaced
    By Vaughan Elder
    A mistake meant stones laid at the new $6 million Dunedin Botanic Garden propagation buildings had to be replaced. Dunedin Botanic Garden curator Alan Matchett said the 25mm limestone chip originally laid on a footpath outside the soon-to-open facility was too rough for people using wheelchairs or pushing prams.
    Read more


    August 6, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    ### dunedintv.co.nz Thu, August 6, 2015
    Propagation facility finally opens at Botanic Garden
    A multi-million dollar propagation facility almost twenty years in the making is finally open at the Dunedin Botanic Garden. It’s the product of the city council’s single largest investment in the garden. And it allows the expansion of almost everything the country’s oldest garden offers.
    Ch39 Link

    39 Dunedin Television Published on Aug 6, 2015
    Propagation facility finally opens at Botanic Garden

  2. On Signal Hull: Of course it’s a great view. Saddle Hull is a mere shadow of its former self. Whose that big stone fat fella? Not Buddha, or we’ll all be BURMA (acronym for ‘Be Upstairs Ready, My Angel’).

  3. photonz

    How come state-of-the-art hothouses cost $1-2m per hectare (ie per 10,000 sq m) in Auckland, and Dunedin pays $6m for just 600 sq m (equivalent to $100 million per hectare)?

    That’s 5000% – 10,000% more than they’re paying up north.

    Or $10,000 per sq m.

    For a glass house.

    Instead of the $100-$200 / sq m they pay up north for heated irrigated hot houses.

    Either they’ve made an error with the reported size, or there is something very, very wrong with the cost of this building.

    Who can explain?

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Propagation houses are different. Some plants grow from almost any cutting (or seed) that hits the ground. Botanic gardens don’t have many of those – they’re the plants that end up being weeds because they grow so damn readily.
      So the plants they propagate are the more difficult ones. Some require bottom heat. Different kinds of drainage. Some need hot and steamy, some seeds need chilling and stratifying. Some cuttings need humidity but not too much or they get mouldy and rot. So there are separate areas needed, and misting units with sensors to regulate humidity and temperature……. I don’t know much about it yet but have friends who are well up on the challenges of building up stocks of healthy new plants for sale. The Dunedin botanic gardens will be growing plants for their own gardens to replace ones that die or are vandalised, some trees and shrubs don’t live long even in ideal conditions either. And then there are all the other plantings around town, I expect many of the plants that beautify other parts of Dunedin’s public grounds are raised by the Botanic Gardens highly trained gardeners, this is not a job for unskilled labour nor for makeshift facilities in which to work.

  4. photonz

    $100-$200 per sq m is the cost of commercial propagation houses.

    $10,000 per sq m is the cost of our propagation house.

    We’re not talking 20 or 30% more. We’re not talking double or triple the cost. We’re not even talking 1000% more.

    We’re talking a staggering 5000% – 10,000% more.

    Or in other words, if I was to build a commercial propagation house, at the same size as this one, I would expect to pay just 1% of what this one cost.



    • Hype O'Thermia

      In your earlier post, photonz: “$100-$200 / sq m they pay up north for heated irrigated hot houses”, then in your second post you said “$100-$200 per sq m is the cost of commercial propagation houses”.
      And you referred to the propagation house at the Dunedin Botanic Gardens costing too much “For a glass house”.

      I wouldn’t be at all surprised (Logan Park trees, latest revelation) if they paid too much, it’s Other People’s Money after all, but surely you comprehend that a glasshouse, heated or otherwise, is not identical to a propagation house? A HiAce is not a Mack truck. A rooming house, share bathroom and kitchen, is not a 5 star hotel.

      Apples v apples, please. Rocket surgery it ain’t already.

  5. photonz

    That’s because I’m talking about commercial glass houses that have temperature control, airflow control, humidity control and irrigation control.

    If you go to the companies that sell them, you’ll see they are often called propagation houses.

    So what does a propagation house have, that a commercial glasshouse sold as a propagation house, used for propagation, with all the propagation controls, doesn’t?

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