Garden Flowers

New Zealanders love their gardens, and to celebrate one of our favourite pastimes New Zealand Post created a series of stamps featuring six flowers that were bred locally. 

Issue information

Gardening was officially recognised as the New Zealand's most popular leisure activity. Different aspects, it seemed, drew different people. For some it was therapeutic, for others it provided a connection with nature and an outlet for artistic expression. The diversity of growing conditions provided by this long, narrow and often mountainous country certainly provided opportunities for all sorts of plants to be grown. Luxuriant subtropicals flourish in the north, whilst gentians, peonies and other cold climate plants thrive in the deep south.

Each of the flowers selected in this vibrant stamp collection were either an award winner or held some special significance for New Zealanders. Three of the flowers featured on the stamps were local and international award winners – one named specifically for the International Year of Volunteers, one being the first in the world to produce this colour combination, and one for being the first yellow perennial petunia in the world.

To create the individual stamps, designer and artist Lindy Fisher created one beautiful overall image forming a bouquet, which could be fully appreciated through the miniature sheet. The bouquet was then divided to create individual stamps. As an issue they presented an overall effect of visual delight, while as individual stamps they invited appreciation of the finer detail.

The first day cover complemented the stamps with a subtle grey backdrop in the style of a watermark. A rough cobble path was featured, leading through lush garden greenery to an inviting little garden gate. The stamps formed a burst of colour superimposed over the garden image, helping to really bring them to life.

Gutter strips were also created using a series of formal, symmetrical designs featuring the flowers on the plant, forming a repetitive band through the large sheet.

Miniature Sheet

Incorporating the six stamps from this issue this miniature sheet was issued in conjunction with the stamps.

Limited Edition 

An imperforate miniature sheet was produced for inclusion in the 2001 Garden Flowers Limited Edition Collectors Pack. Each sheet was individually numbered from one through to 2,000.

Product Listing for Garden Flowers

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 40c 'Camellia (Volunteer)’ gummed stamp.

Camellias have been grown in New Zealand for over 100 years and there were at least 420 varieties of camellias. Camellia sinensis continues to be the most widely cultivated camellia in the world as it produces one of the world's favourite beverages tea.

Camellia japonica  was also widely grown as it occurs in many different flower forms ranging from single to formal doubles. Flower colours include pinks, reds and white with combinations of these colours often appearing in the one bloom. The ‘Volunteer’ was named specifically for the International Year of Volunteers and was released in June 2001.

$0.40
Single Stamp

Single 80c 'Siberian Iris (Emma Ripeka)’ gummed stamp.

Irises come in two main types, those grown from bulbs that die back each summer and those that are herbaceous and form rhizomes from which sword -shaped leave arise. Herbaceous irises are further divided into several categories.

Siberian irises love moist places, where they can form large clumps of attractive green foliage. They are a beardless iris native to Europe and Asia and the predominant flower colours are violet, purple and blue, white, lavender and reddish-violet. Emma Ripeka won the 1994 Dykes medal – the highest award for iris cultivators in the world.

$0.80
Single Stamp

Single 90c 'Daffodil (Demand)’ gummed stamp.

Wild species of Narcissus, the genus to which daffodils belong, originate mainly from the western Mediterranean region. Centuries of work by plant breeders have culminated in a plethora of varieties. Best known are the trumpet daffodils, which herald spring's arrival by parading large flamboyant trumpet-shaped blooms.

'Demand' was awarded the highest honour in 1991 that can be given to a new variety, a First Class Certificate. Daffodils continue to hold a special place in New Zealand hearts, with Daffodil Day being the name of the Cancer Society’s popular fund-raising and awareness event.

$0.90
Single Stamp

Single $1.30 'Chrysanthemum (Edith Mechen)’ gummed stamp.

Chrysanthemums originated in China and their cultivation dates back to at least 500 B.C. Several species were brought from China to Europe in the 18th Century and selection and breeding since that time has resulted in a remarkable array of flower forms and colours.

The chrysanthemum has been very popular on Mother's Day when thousands of 'Mums' have been purchased to give to mums on their special day. ‘Edith Mechen’ surpassed any other cultivar in any classification or section as an all time Champion in New Zealand at National Show level. 

$1.30
Single Stamp

Single $1.50 'Sweet Pea (North Shore)’ gummed stamp.

Sweet Pea's are originally natives of Sicily and they were introduced into England in 1699. Flowers originally had maroon and violet wings and breeding eventually led to the development of flowers that are relatively small with stunningly different vibrant colours and a strong exquisite fragrance.

During Edwardian times the sweet pea became very popular particularly those with large frilly flowers. Today they remain popular with ‘North Shore’ being unique in the world with its navy blue and violet petals, and being a winner of Royal Horticultural Society awards. 

$1.50
Single Stamp

Single $2.00 'Petunia (Moonlight)’ gummed stamp.

The petunia originated in South America and is a hybrid plant which has been cultivated for about 175 years. Modern hybrids have developed into flower sizes ranging from huge grandifloras to those with tiny blooms. Perennial petunia's have become a success and make colourful groundcovers in gardens or beautifully cascade in a hanging basket.

In New Zealand the multiflora types with medium-sized flowers have been most popular. 'Moonlight' is the first commercially available vegetative yellow petunia to have been bred anywhere in the world. 

$2.00
Miniature Sheet Mint, used or cancelled miniature sheet. $6.90
First Day Cover First day cover with stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $7.40
Miniature Sheet First Day Cover First day cover with miniature sheet affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $7.40
Presentation Pack Presentation pack containing a selection of stamp products from the issue and further information on the theme of the stamps. $11.00
Limited Edition Limited edition collectable containing exclusive stamp products not available anywhere else. $135.00

Technical information

Date of issue: 7 March 2001
Number of stamps: Six
Denominations and designs: 40c Camelia, 80c Siberian Iris, 90c Daffodil, $1.30 Chrysanthemum, $1.50 Sweet Pea, $2.00 Petunia
Stamps, miniature sheet and first day cover designed by: Lindy Fisher, Auckland, New Zealand
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print, Dunedin, New Zealand by offset lithography
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: 30mm x 35.71mm horizontal
Paper type: 103gsm red phosphor coated stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet 50 stamps, plus one vertical strip of five gutter images
Perforation gauge: 14
Special blocks: Plate/imprint blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode, value blocks and logo blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least two stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks were available in both A and B formats for sheet stamps.
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 6 March 2002.