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Ralph Ballinger

Few Lincoln alumni can claim to be still writing and publishing books in their nineties, as 1940 B Ag Science graduate Ralph Ballinger can. Ballinger has a long personal and professional association with the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture, serving for many years on the executive then as Chairman and President. Among other awards, he received an OBE in 1978 for his services to horticulture and was made an Associate of Honour of the RNZIH in 1987.

However, it is not just the inspirational feat of publishing his memoirs at aged 91 that makes Ballinger’s book such an interesting read. In this autobiographical journey the author also parallels New Zealand’s horticultural development in the second half of the 20th century. After graduating from Lincoln, he served in World War 2 and was seconded to participate in seed production research in England. This pivotal move was the instigation for his subsequent work when he returned to New Zealand after the war and pioneered several horticultural industries including asparagus production and even New Zealand’s only ever commercial poppy (and opium) production.

While a noted figure in horticultural circles throughout New Zealand, Ballinger’s biggest presence has been in Marlborough where his contribution to horticulture and life-story unfolds as a not-so-typical but quintessential New Zealand, story. It is a story of family fun, holidays in the Marlborough Sounds and the challenges of horticultural endeavours.

MCG Objectives for the next 12 months

Objectives next  12 months


¢ Coordination of a steering group or management structure

¢ Tool drive and seed bank/collection

¢ Identify mentors from the community

¢ Establish partners in business and community

¢ Secure ongoing funding or establish self sufficiency

¢ Actively promote the gardens to the wider community

Structure of MCG

MCG is seed funded by NPA (Nutrition and Physical Activity) in conjunction with the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board

 Co-signed by Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology -  Richard Hunter – Riversdale Promotions Inc and the Marlborough Farmers Market

Marlborough Community Garden 2008

Marlborough Community Gardens
 Ballinger Drive Riversdale


 The community gardens will help the Marlborough Communtiy to

       Acess to quality fresh fruit and vegetables

       Create social and recreational opportunities for whanau/families

       Increase physical activity and reduce stress

       Learn or refresh skills – eg horticulture and cooking

       Develop sustainable gardens  - learn how to recycle organic waste and reuse water

       Teach whanau/families about where food comes from and how it is produced

       Get to know neighbours, make new friends and enjoy the neighbourhood


 Vision for MCG

 For Marlborough to have a vibrant Community Garden that caters to all,  educates and encourages self sufficiency