Today it was officially announced two career gardeners are set to join forces with local volunteers on Canberra’s most prominent gardens. Duncan Howard returns to his roots, literally, on the parliamentary gardens in which he did his training years ago. On his team is Graham Evans, whose application to new garden maintenance company, Citywide, came with written support from local volunteers.
“Sixteen years ago I started my apprenticeship on the gardens of the Parliamentary Triangle, installing the flori-art features and honing my trade,” new Citywide Operations Manager Duncan Howard recalled.
“It’s great to be back managing Canberra’s premier horticultural attraction.”
After a youth spent in the Central Western tablelands working on a farm with his father and grandfather, Mr Howard accumulated over 15 years experience with Canberra’s Parks, Conservation and Land bodies. He never forgets the majesty of misty mornings over Lake Burley Griffin, an obvious passion which supported his selection from a strong field of applicants.
Graham Evans has more recent experience in the front yard of our most powerful political leaders A gardener for the previous contractor, his tenure has continued under Citywide. A large number of horticultural volunteers have indicated their strong support for Graham. Citywide Managing Director, Kerry Osborne, said his company was impressed. “Graham is a very experienced gardener and we have appointed him on that basis. The fact that he has such a good relationship with the community reflects his understanding of the nature of our work – it’s all about creating places for people to meet, recharge and be inspired.”
The contract covers approximately 120hectares of parkland across the National Triangle, Parliamentary Zone, the National Rose Gardens, Commonwealth Park, Acton Peninsula, Kings Park and Old Parliament House Rose Gardens. Mr Osborne says Citywide has already scoped areas for improvement. “It’s a mature, open horticultural space with a wide mix of local and exotic varieties. We’ll be appealing to the garden’s heritage while applying new sustainable landscape management strategies to improve plant resilience in extreme weather conditions,” he said.
Citywide will progressively implement its computerised asset management system, TRAX, on the new contract. This will give the National Capital Authority eal time visibility over the condition of all natural garden assets, improving maintenance and public safety. The company is also experienced at working with local volunteer groups. “We have a close working relationship with a number of friends groups. Our horticulturalists enjoy sharing their knowledge and getting their hands in fresh earth with local people,” Mr Osborne said.
Citywide won the contract to manage Canberra’s Gardens in April 2010 following a national tender process. The company is Australia’s leader in prominent public open space management, with the world heritage listed gardens of Melbourne and harbourside parkland of the City of Sydney under management. It delivers the full scope of environmental, waste and civil infrastructure services, supported with expert advice, to government and private enterprise