21 Dec 2017

Reading outside is a summer pleasure and the Botanic Gardens is encouraging visitors to set themselves up with a classic in just the right spot.

A Read in the Gardens programme is being launched on Wednesday 3 January for the first time in partnership with Christchurch City Libraries and with support from the Friends of the Botanic Gardens.

Five classic books will be hidden around the gardens for people to read, matching the book with a special location that evokes the content of the story. The programme will run for three weeks until Wednesday 24 January.

Peter Rabbit will be hiding in the Curators Garden, Winnie the Pooh will be hunting honey in the woodlands (standing in for the 100 Acre wood), Alice in Wonderland will get curiouser and curiouser in the Heritage Rose Garden, and The Magic Faraway Tree will be in the New Zealand Garden.

Copies of The Lorax will be found in the Cockayne Memorial Garden under a truffula-like tī kōuka/cabbage tree.

A picnic blanket is supplied with the books and most of the locations are near bench seats.

All of the books will be kept inside a locked “treasure box” which can be opened using a code found either online or on a Wild About Reading map available from the Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre. The books need to be returned and locked back in the box for the next person to read. Members of Friends of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens will monitor the boxes during the day.

Operations Manager Garden and Heritage Parks Nicky Brown says reading and nature are a natural combination. “This is about taking the wonderful idea of finding a quiet spot outside to read a book and making it part of the experience of visiting the Botanic Gardens.”

The Read in the Gardens programme is an extension of Christchurch City Libraries’ Wild about Reading competition which is open to all children aged up to 13 and runs until 19 January 2018.

Young readers can collect stamps, ticks or stickers for reading books, eBooks, or listening to audiobooks or podcasts and go in the draw to win prizes, including Orana Wildlife Park passes, family pool passes, movie passes and book vouchers.