Domain welcomes cultural garden

The soil has been carefully prepared and Ashburton’s first cultural themed garden is ready for planting.

Today the first plants will be put in place to create, with flowers, the Om symbol in what will become a special place for Ashburton’s Indian community.

The symbol will be planted using the marigold flower, which is of great importance and prominence in the Indian culture, often used in special occasions and celebrations.

A border of verbena and lobelia flowers in purples and blues will complement the symbol planting, helping to recognise the Fijian Indian influence across the culture.

Ashburton District Council open spaces team has worked closely with the Ashburton Indian Multicultural Trust to design the garden and to raise seedlings to recreate the Om symbol in the triangle flowerbed near the waterwheel and duck pond in the domain.

In Hinduism and Buddhism the ‘Om’ symbol is a sound and is a powerful mantra often used in meditation, yoga and other spiritual practices and is of great importance to the Indian culture.

The cultural themed garden is a Welcoming Communities initiative and recognises the district’s growing cultural and ethnic diversity, open spaces manager David Askin said.

“We are very proud to be working with the Ashburton Indian Multicultural Trust on this garden.

“The domain is a great place for people to relax, spend time with friends and family and enjoy the gardens.

“Naturally, those new to our district have embraced the domain in the same way as residents who’ve been here for many years.

“It’s great that we can showcase different cultures and let the people that live here see their culture reflected around them in one of the district’s most popular sites,” he said.

The project had been challenging for us in terms of design, but it had also raised awareness of other cultures, Askin said.

“As this themed garden is a seasonal planting, we hope that there may be an opportunity each year to work with different cultural groups in the district to design and showcase a themed cultural garden,” he said.

Planting began today and will be completed tomorrow morning prior to the official community opening at 11.30am with a free barbecue.

If very wet, the event will not be held.