Elms Resources

Duff and Gertrude’s Garden



Many of the exotic plants can be attributed to Duff's willingness to accept all gifts, and to his desire to develop The Elms into an attractive and unusual site for visitors.

During the 1950s a fire cleared the garden in front of the library, to the east of the mission house. A painting by Airini Vane shows this area full of white arum lilies. Other paintings of the library show it in an open setting, surrounded by roses. The large, mature trees which now surround it are a tribute to the Bay of Plenty's excellent growing conditions.

Duff planted all the trees on the library lawn, and in front of the building. The remaining fruit trees, citrus, apple and pear, date back to his era.

The Tea Garden, with seating surrounding a graceful palm tree, owes its name to Gertrude's efforts to help the family finances. Visitors were able to order afternoon tea by ringing a bell. Later the annual meetings of The Elms Trust were held here every November.

Two kauri trees were planted by Duff and Grant Maxwell in 1949 as a memorial to their aunt, Alice Maxwell. The trees did not survive the year but replacements, planted in 1950 and 1951, have thrived.

The Tauranga City Council is responsible for the maintenance of the gardens, which are open to the public at all times.

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