THE formal entry to Shoalhaven Heads’ arboretum was officially opened on Sunday.
Kiama MP Gareth Ward cut the ribbon along with arboretum committee secretary Roger Tilley and president Rob Stewart.
The Curtis Park Arboretum is a community garden, and was first started in 2009.
Despite some reservations by Shoalhaven City Council and an initial battle to gain use of the land, the area has been developed into a series of gardens that boasts one of the most diverse native plant collections on the east coast.
The 4000 square metre area boasts 180 different species of plants, collected from far north Queensland all the way to Tasmania.
Visitors can take a self-guided tour with the help of signs in the botanic and bush tucker gardens.
The arboretum itself was officially opened in September 2012.
“I would encourage everybody to come and visit the arboretum with your family and friends to enjoy these peaceful gardens and to view an amazing variety of over 100 hundred species of native plants from sunrise to sunset,” Mr Ward said.
Mr Tilley spoke about the garden’s beginnings.
“During 2006, I was on holidays in far north Queensland so I decided to bring a few seeds back and luckily some germinated, so these trees became the beginning of the arboretum concept,” he said.
“In February 2009, we were officially recognised as a Parkcare group.
“We then began laying out the gardens with various types of plants and decided the theme should be eastern Australia and native plants.”