Four Gardens

As part of the National Botanic Gardens (Lae) Advancement Program, in September of 2015, Swire Shipping made one of the biggest contributions to the program by donating K70, 000 to engage world-class design firm Garden City Design Co.

Their task was design four new garden concepts for the Northern Precinct of the Gardens. In November 2015, Garden City Design Co. presented five exciting garden designs that have the potential to transform the Northern area of the gardens. These designs are currently in concept stage with building materials and plant lists also provided. The Forest Research Institute is able to provide all the plants for the gardens and maintain them once built. Currently, the FOLBG are looking for further sponsorship to make these designs an impressive reality.

The five designs and narrative can be viewed below:



Each garden is connected with a 3m wide pathway that follows the general shape of the creek embankment. The gardens and new pathway connect and are integrated with existing picnic shelters, mumu pits and the BSP playground area and ends in the luxuriant foliage garden that surrounds the existing stairs to the upper gardens and herbarium.

Heliconia Garden


This garden is presented as complimentary to the adjacent Ginger Garden and is approximately 300 square metres in total area. This garden will be full of colour, form and texture and will showcase a combination of exotic PNG species.

The shape of the garden emulates the ‘flower beaks’ of heliconia. Planting is arranged to be able to walk between the collections while also having ‘view lines’ through the garden for safety and other vistas. The garden will contain dwarf cultivars to the large specimen plants and will highlight the use and application of erect, distichous, pendulous and spiral species and varieties. This will include a variety of native Heliconias of PNG. Intermittent seating is also proposed in various locations within the garden.

Ginger Garden


PNG has some the world’s largest collections of Gingers (Alpiniaceae, Zingiberaceae, Costaceae) including the extensive species of Tapeinochilos. This garden will highlight this species and the diversity of the family. Perfumed species will also add another dimension to the garden.

The overall shape of the garden represents the lanceolate leaves of many Zingibars. Those more tolerant to full sun will be planted to the park side of the garden path and others requiring more shade to the rear with semi-formal plantings of gingers in the nominated garden position on the plan and informal plantings between the rear of the garden and the creek bank.

Food, Fibre and Health Garden


The intention of this garden, in two parts, is to demonstrate and highlight the diverse nature of the natural food, fibre and medicinal plants that are grown in different parts of PNG. This garden will provide interesting, educational and cultural showcase these plants and their use in PNG as well as a delightful ‘healthy’ picnic atmosphere.

The garden is located on either side of the picnic shelter and renovated Mumu pits – in an environment of food, health and wellbeing. The two gardens are approximately 400 square metres in area and both are designed to gradually rise in height to approximately 600mm retained by front facing stacked stonewalls, to provide efficient drainage and subsequent pant health. They will also graduate in height to allow for seating and better viewing.

Foliage Garden


This garden concept is to be located at the base of and part of the rising stairs to the existing nursery area. The garden area is approximately 400 square metres and has an existing renovated pathway and bridge through its centre.

The garden is a presentation of large, luxuriantly shaped and coloured leaf plants that have great texture and ornamental value that will thrive in the partial shade and highly humid conditions, while also have the advantage of hillside drainage. This garden will be full of striking equatorial plants housing an extensive aroid and begonia collection with incredible leaf formation, colours, shapes and complimentary values; an excellent precursor to the arrival at the existing Begonia and Aroid Houses and orchid gardens in the upper nursery area.

Kids Maze Garden


The existing BSP Children’s Playground will be better connected to the overall garden presentation with the inclusion of a circular maze that integrate with the existing playground and the proposed garden pathway.

The circular maze consists of narrow and broad bands of circular garden strips of varying types and colours of low growing plants, ornamental grasses and a pathway of complimentary colour to provide amusement and attraction.

The Kid’s Garden will also include an internal garden shaped as a small Amphitheatre at the rear corner, which will be a sensory garden with perfumed plants. This will be a magical, colourful place to bring the gardens into the playground area and create a wonderful space for children to spend time.

We need your help to create these gardens!

The Forest Research Institute is calling out to people and companies who are interested in helping us create these gardens. We are looking for five main sponsors to adopt a garden design each and they will have the opportunity to name their garden.

The Forest Research Institute team will be cultivating and providing the plants from our own nursery and we have lists of materials and equipment required for each garden ready to go. Some sponsors have already shown interest in developing the connecting pathways and sponsoring a garden. We now need to find more sponsors to ensure we can do these designs justice. If you are interested in helping us make these gardens a reality, please get in touch with the Forest Research Institute.