Gardens draw a record breaking 100,000 visitors
Thursday 4 July, 2013
The number of people visiting the National Rhododendron Gardens last financial year reached 100,000, beating all previous records. Garden’s Curator David Adeson says numbers have kept on growing ever since the entry fee was removed in 2010. “We used to get 27,000 visitors a year back when we had entrance fees, then for the first two years after they were removed the numbers tripled to 75,000.”
David says many local residents have become frequent visitors, “We see the same faces quite a lot now. I think the local community has really started to feel ownership of the garden, and they’ve become a great support group.”
“We’ve also noticed a lot more multicultural groups coming here to have picnics and family get- togethers, then staying round and enjoying this special place. I think the fact that it has
3km of sealed tracks and is a safe environment appeals to a lot of different people.”
The garden’s Shop manager Maureen Irvin says there’s also been a boom in the retail side of things.
“People have such a lovely time in the garden they want to take something home with them. Plants are one of our biggest hits – especially anything that’s in bloom in the garden at the time.”
The biggest annual event in the Gardens is Hanami Day, when the Japanese Cherry trees are in full bloom. Last year 4,500 people turned up to enjoy the wonderful sight of these magnificent plants, setting another daily visitor record.
David Adeson says although spring flowering time is when visitors numbers peak, the garden has much more to offer, such as the amazing colours of the Maples in autumn. “Because we have such a large variety of trees and plants there is something special to see in the garden all year round”
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