Change for Sir Harold Hillier Gardens as Wolfgang Bopp leaves for New Zealand

Wolfgang Bopp has left Sir Harold Hillier Gardens after 14 years for a new job in New Zealand.

Bopp was at the Hampshire gardens for 14 years. Image: Hampshire County Council

Bopp is the new director of the Botanic Gardens and Garden Parks in Christchurch.

Before starting at the Hampshire arboretum, Bopp’s experience included the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Ness Botanic Gardens and the National Botanic Gardens of Wales. Under his stewardship, visitor numbers increased to 200,000 a year.

He said there had been many highlights of his time at the 73-hectare gardens, including redeveloping the Centenary Border, welcoming Sir David Attenborough to open the Education Garden and showing HRH The Duchess of Cornwall around when celebrating the Gardens’ 60thanniversary.

"One of the more challenging yet rewarding projects was the Centenary Border, which required clearing the area to install the new design and enriching the plant collection with many more plants," he said. "It’s great to see so many visitors enjoying the border which is now such a special landmark in the gardens.

"My proudest moment was when HRH Duchess of Cornwall agreed to be our president. The gardens have an exciting future ahead, and it’s one I shall watch with interest. I shall miss the team of staff, volunteers and supporters but know they will continue doing fantastic work."

Leader of Hampshire County Council and Hillier Gardens trustee, Councillor Roy Perry, thanked Bopp for all his hard work on behalf of the council.

"During Wolfgang’s time at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, his genuine passion for horticulture has shone through, not only on projects requiring his plant knowledge and expertise but in how he’s worked with colleagues to transform the gardens into the world-renowned landmark that visitors enjoy today. The legacy he leaves behind is clear. We wish Wolfgang the very best on the next step of his career."

Sir Harold Hillier left the gardens under the sole trusteeship of Hampshire County Council in 1977. It grows more than 1200 species of plants, has 14 National Plant Collections and around 400 Champion Trees. The gardens has 45 staff members and 170 volunteers.

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