Wellington’s Japanese Gardens is almost ready for the visit of community delegates of Wellington’s sister city Osawano and its mayor Masashi Mori.
Though unable to visit last year due to the earthquake in Japan, the delegates have made many annual visits.
The gardens were originally funded by Osawano as a gift to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to Wellington.
The mayor and community delegates will visit on July 29 and 30.
Later in September another group will visit.
Council’s parks and gardens staff were working alongside C3 prisoners on maintenance of the gardens and Mayor Anne Jones said that the inmates had been able to work on projects that Council wouldn’t be able to maintain, such as the gateway to the caves.
Despite the frosts, parks and gardens manager Duanne Whittle said the garden was looking good with winter colours and textures.
“It’s meticulous work in horticulture and the job is never finished - it is ongoing, but it is rewarding to work on something that people will enjoy,” he said.
“The inmates have been quite involved in the community and they are a brilliant asset. They are doing a great job painting, weeding and cutting,” he said.
Cr Jones said that the benefit of the program was twofold.
“First, to be able to address all issues dealing within work in the local government area that Council has not been able to do,” she said.
“Secondly, inmates are starting a new life, learning new skills and getting ready to come back into the community. You can actually see their self-esteem build and their pride as they look at their work.”