Walk details - click
Rose Garden - click
Begonia house - click


Lady Norwood Begonia House and Rose Garden

Begonia House

Begonia House interior and shop

Begonia display

Peace Flame

Access to the Rose Garden and Begonia House can be obtained -

1. from the Main Garden Founders Gate along the external pathway (Tinakori Road) to the Centennial Entrance or
2. via the Pine Hill Path, the first path to the left off Buchanan Way after entering the Founders Gate. This path is fully formed and of moderate uphill slope, although from the Herb Garden Lookout the path is steep but downhill. This path takes through the dwarf conifer collection, the old pines and conifers, to the Herb Garden and lookout over the Rose Garden and Begonia House. This is the recommended route.

The Downhill Path to the city continues from top left exit from the Rose Garden.

Alternative access can also be by the Norwood Path/East Way downhill by relatively steep path from the Cable Car, or through the Bollton Memorial Park from/to the City. This route misses the main part of the garden and is not recommended.

Main path and alternative (recommended)
from Main Garden Founders Gate

Features marked in blue circle
and yellow letter
(on alternative route)

A. Paper bark (Meleleuca)
B. Pinus roxburghii
C. Pinus nigra 'Larico'
D. Black Butt gum
E. Pinus radiata, some of the oldest in NZ
F. Giant Redwood
G. Douglas Fir
H. Stone pine, Pinus pinea
I. Pinus pinaster, maritime pine

Click for more information on above trees

Lady Norwood Rose Garden

one of the most popular features of the Wellington Botanic Garden.

A rose garden has been a feature of the Garden for a long time. The original occupied the site now featuring the Sound Shell in the Main Garden. In the late 1940's the possibility of establishing a new area featuring roses was suggested, and with the assistance of the Norwood Family, work commenced in 1950, the garden named after Lady Norwood. The area opened in 1953.

The Garden contains some 3200 roses covering over 300 varieties in 110 beds. It include all main types -

Bush roses including -

Hybrid Tea types with their large flowers, many of which are fragrant

Florobunda roses with their clusters of individual flowers of a wide colour range. Few are fragrant, but produce more colour all over the plant.

Patio roses which are ideal for pots and tubs. These are usually smaller plants with smaller flowers

Climbing roses for walls pergolas etc. There are approximately 80 on the pergola surrounding the main beds.

Shrub roses are mostly large growing plants with a variety of flower types.

Standard roses of both Hybrid Tea and Florobunda types which are grafted onto a long stem about a meter high.

There is also a heritage rose collection of roses from Regency and Victorian times in the adjoining Bollton Street Memorial Park, containing some 300 heritage specimens covering over 80 varieties.

The surrounding pergola was added in 1961. Lady Norwood donated the original fountain in the center, although the Norwood children gave a replacement in 1977. This is an antique bronze structure, imported from Australia, although originally came from outside a bank in London. It is over 100 years old.

The design of the garden has basically not changed since it was constructed. There are 106 beds, although recently the 4 central beds have been divided into two to allow easier access, so there are now 110 main beds. The Rose Garden Brochure, available in the Begonia House, gives the garden layout, and lists the individual roses in their appropriate beds. # to 4 rose beds are replaced each year, the new roses previously trilled in the test beds located at the rear right of the garden for several years before being selected. Few of the original roses remain; Buccaneer, located in the center close to the fountain in the north east quadrant, is one of the remaining original specimens.

The main flowering season commences in November and continues until early autumn. The plants are continually 'deadheaded through the flowering season to promote new growth and flowering. Pruning starts in May, and a pruning demonstration in conjunction with the Rose Society is held each year.

on hill overlooking Rose Garden

An integrated pest management program is followed, ensuring; minimal chemical sprays are used during growth. Along the Begonia House beds a number of perennials are planted which host desirable insects providing a measure of natural control. The rosesare fed September, December and March.

To the west of the Rose Garden on the ridge is a Herb Garden. This in itself is very interesting, and also provides an excellent view of the area.

The east side also has the Waterfall Garden, built in 1970/71 with its Peace Flame.

Only a few of the roses originally planted remain in the Garden. One, the Hybrid Tea variety Buccaneer, is found close to the central fountain, in the north-east quadrant, and is illustrated at left..

Details of the Begonia House are fully discussed on a separate page HERE

Rose Garden from Herb Garden lookout.



Lady Norwood Begonia House in Wellington Botanic Garden has a wide range of plants including, Begonias, Orchids, Bromeliads, Cyclamen, Primula, Impatiens, foliage plants, and a variety of bulbs in permanent plantings and seasonal displays. Victoria amazonica and V. cruziana can be found in the Tropical Water lily Pond along with Nelumbo nucifera, the Sacred Lotus. Integrated pest management, including Biological control is used for pest control.

The Begonia House and its extensions form the backdrop to the Lady Norwood Rose Garden, and were built with the help of substantial funding donations from Sir Charles Norwood, and the Norwood family.
Sir Charles and Lady Norwood were a former Mayor and Mayoress of Wellington. They were enthusiastic advocates of the city parks and gardens, and particularly the Rose Garden area of the Botanic Garden.

The house was built in 1961 without the present Cafe or Lily pond areas. The Cafe was added in 1980. The Tropical Water lily Pond was added in 1989, while the rest of the house underwent extensive renovations, which were completed in 1990.
The Begonia House is more correctly a conservatory because a wide range of tropical and temperate plants are grown and displayed all year round in the house, however during the summer months the spectacular Tuberous Begonias are the dominant display plants and it is from these displays that the house gets its name. Recent efforts have been made to extend the Begonia collection into a wider range of different types.

The house is divided into 2 sections.
Temperate Section.

Tuberous begonias in summer

Seasonal displays of potted flowering and foliage plants make up the main displays in this section. there are also 2 beds of permanent and semi permanent plantings of larger growing plants, including the spectacular huge leafed Damaropsis kingiana. (syn. Ficus kingiana.)

This section is heated to a minimum of 15o C.

Main display plants and collections;

  • Tuberous Begonias, both pot and basket types, with their spectacular large colourful flowers, play the starring role, and dominate the displays during the summer months.
  • Begonias such as cane, rhizomatous, and non tuberous basket types are also grown and many of these flower at other times of the year, particularly winter and spring.
  • Streptocarpus or Cape Primrose hybrids also feature during the warmer months of the year.
    Cyclamen and foliage in winter
  • Cyclamen and Primula obconica provide the main floral display during winter.
  • Cymbidium orchids flower winter and spring.
  • Hippeastrum with their large trumpet blooms are a feature of spring.
  • Lilium follow on in late spring and early summer with large brightly coloured blooms that are often scented.
  • Nerines always catch attention with their often unusual colours in Autumn.
  • Impatiens, Begonias, other than tuberous types, Coleus, and other foliage, provide interest all year round.

The foyer area of the temperate house is where many baskets are displayed and is a popular site for wedding ceremonies.

Tropical Section.
Minimum temperature in this section is set at 20oC.
Most of the plants here are permanently planted.

Main collections include;

Achmea 'Tam Star' one of the Bromeliads in the Tropical section
  • Bromeliads - members of the Pineapple family. There are Tillandsias growing on a "tree" in the enclosure just through the doors into the house and various other genera growing throughout the house.
  • Aroids - members of the Arum lily family, including the Fruit Salad plant Monstera deliciosa and the awesome Titan lily Amorphophallus titanum.
  • Orchids - some permanently planted, but most in temporary potted displays below the epiphyte wall. The main genera displayed here are species and hybrids of Phalaenopsis, Cattleya, and Dendrobium.
    Paphiopedilum or Slipper orchids are usually found in the enclosure between the entrance doors.
  • Aquatic plants in the Tropical Water lily Pond.

The Tropical Waterlily Pond is housed in an extension to the Tropical section, and was opened in November 1989. It was built to grow the giant Amazon water lily species Victoria amazonica and V. cruziana. The pond is heated to between 23o and 27oC depending on time of year, and is stocked with tropical fish, mainly Guppies and Swordtails, to keep algae down. Goldfish in the pond have been dumped there by members of the public! Unfortunately they eat the beneficial tropical fish!

Apart from the Victorias, the pond also home to a white form of the Sacred Lotus, Nelumbo nucifera and several tropical and hardy water lilies of the genus Nymphaea.

Integrated Pest Management.
High toxicity pesticides such as organo-phosphates have not been used for general pest control in the Lady Norwood Begonia House since 1993.
Pest control is now based on Integrated Pest Management. This involves monitoring pest population levels and where necessary, reducing the populations using physical and environmental means, Biological control, or low toxicity chemical or biochemical means.
Biological control methods are used for the pests; Two-spotted mite, White fly, and Mealy bug.

Public Hours  Open every day of the year;

Winter;     April - September (inclusive) 10:00 am - 4:00pm.
Summer;    October - March (During Daylight Saving ) 10:00am - 5:00pm.

Hire of the Begonia House.
The Begonia House Temperate section is available for hire, outside public hours, and is a popular venue for wedding receptions and corporate functions.
All enquiries should be made to "The Treehouse" Visitor Centre in the Botanic Garden.
Phone. 04 499 1400

Wellington Botanic Garden is a section of the Wellington City Council Parks & Gardens business unit.

Begonia flower

Begonia display

The Downhill Walk is discussed in a number of sections.

Starting at the Cable Car :

Walk 1 Grass Way
Walk 2 Main Garden
Walk 3 Rose Garden and Begonia House
Walk 4 Bolton Street Memorial Park

Other walks

Walk 5 East Way and Norwood Path
Walk 6 Kowhai Walk

Walk 7 Sculptures