18 March 2015

Ron Lycette - Waikato University Gardens

Back in 1972 when I first arrived to work in Hamilton at Ruakura Research Centre, the Waikato University was in its infancy, the gardens were just beginning and there was still some mud about. Ron Lycette had been procured to establish the gardens. Having done that he moved to Melbourne University to look after their gardens.

Over the years I attended Waikato University where I obtained my PhD, attended some courses and lectures there, did a little lecturing and collaborated with some of the staff on research projects. We often attend plays, lectures and chamber music concerts there in the Gallagher Performing Arts Centre - a great venue. In fact when I retired, the Waikato University facilities were uppermost in making our decision to stay in Hamilton.

At Ruakura several of us used to go running for our midday break and often our runs took us through the university gardens. This started in the mid seventies so we saw many of the early plantings. Like the Hamilton City gardens we observed the university gardens grow and mature. So it was with much interest that Catherine and I attended a talk and garden tour late last year - conducted by Ron Lycette. Ron, assisted by the present garden manager, took us on a tour of the gardens he still remembers lovingly. Many of the trees have matured and the boles of most of them are now well developed - in several places the tree trunks and boles in groups or interspersed comprise an important part of the gardenscape. There is a pleasant mix of native and exotic - with, in places, the more mature exotics on the verge of removal to allow, for example, ferns to develop in a more sympathetic environment. I've taken art groups these gardens - a great place for art amid the reflections in the several lakes. Thanks Ron - you've created something to be proud of. Waikato University must have one of the most beautiful campuses in the world.


Another Interesting Tree Base

Maturing Tree Trunk
















Algae and Lichen on Kanuka Trunk


Lichen on Bole