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March 14, 2010

Maria and Dave Sanderson in front of their lake and garden in a disused lignite mine

The Lignite-Pit Scenic Stop is well worth a visit if you’re near Invercargill or the Catlins. The owners Dave and Maria Sanderson have transformed an disused lignite mine into an ornamental lake and impressive garden. They won an environment award for it in 2006 and since then they’ve made the gardens public and added a cafe.

Dave gives an interesting tour of the history of the area and the work that was done to turn it into the gardens, including bulldozing old pine trees out of the water and removing old cars and fridges. He has learned about gardening as he went and doesn’t water or fertilise anything, and in some cases plants straight into lignite. Motivating to see how an area can be transformed – perhaps there is hope for me as a gardener.
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