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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]

Nurserymen and Fruiterers

Nurserymen and Fruiterers.

Benefield, W. T., and Sons (A. H. Benefield), Aramoho Nurseries, Aramoho, near Wanganui. Bankers, Bank of New Zealand. These nurseries were established in the year 1877 by Mr. W. T. Benefield, and occupy twenty acres of fertile land, through which a stream of water runs. All kinds of fruit trees of the best varieties, including Japanese and English plums, apples, etc., are grown in large quantities. The crop of apples is estimated at 40 tons for the season. The nurseries contain about 150,000 trees, including almost every variety. A specialty is made of the culture of roses, and camelias are cultivated in large quantities. Mr Benefield keeps his large stock up-to-date by frequent importations from England, Australia, and Japan, and carries off a large number of prizes of the Royal Horticultural Society of England. He exhibits at most of the North Island shows, and has won a large number of medals and trophies. There are four up-to-date glass-houses, a fine packing shed, potting sheds, an office, stables, and a residence on the property. Mr Benefield retired in 1902, and his third son has since taken over the entire management of the nurseries. Further reference to Mr W. T. Benefield's career appears on page 1353 of the Wellington volume of the Cyclopedia of New Zealand.

Mr Arthur Henry Benefield, proprietor of the Aramoho Nurseries, was born in Wanganui in the year 1878, and was educated at the Aramoho public school. Since leaving school he has devoted his whole time to the nurseries, and has made a close study of every branch of the work. He is vice-president of the boating club, of which he was captain for a time, and is a member of the local lodge of Oddfellows. Mr Benefield married Miss Margaret Edith May Murphy, of Auckland, and has one son and four daughters.

Denton, photo.Mr. A. H. Benefield.

Denton, photo.
Mr. A. H. Benefield.

Laird, James, and Sons (A. S. Laird and J. Laird), Nurserymen, Florists, and Seedsmen, Wanganui. This firm is one of the oldest in New Zealand, and was established in New Plymouth in the year 1857, by the late Mr J. Laird. Ten years later he removed to Wanganui, brought his stock with him, and planted a portion of the present Egmont Nursery. This property, situated in Glasgow Street, formerly consisted of five acres, but four acres were subsequently sold as building sites. The Egmont Nursery is used principally for the cultivation of bedding stuff, and also contains the packing sheds and offices, where all the business of both nurseries is transacted. There are three large up-to-date glass houses and the senior partner's residence (with telephone connection) on the property. The Virginian Nursery, which was taken up when the greater part of the Egmont Nursery is sold, is situated about half a mile further out, and consists of sixteen acres of rich land. All kinds of fruit trees, ornamental, and shelter trees, and shrubs are grown in large quantities. A specialty is made of the culture of roses, of which there are specimens of the best known and latest varieties; the firm import from fifty to 100 new species every year, and upward of 100,000 rose plants are annually sent to all parts of the Dominion. In connection with their nurseries, Messrs. Laird Brothers have a shop in Victoria Avenue; for many years the shop was on Taupo Quay, but was subsequently removed to the present site, and a large business is transacted in seeds, plants, flowers, etc., supplied from the firm's gardens.

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Mr Alexander Smith Laird, senior partner, business and financial manager of the firm of Messrs. J. Laird and Son, was born in New Plymouth in the year 1857, and at an early age removed with his parents to Wanganui, where he was educated at the public schools. With the exception of a short time spent in farming on the Coast, Mr Laird has devoted his whole time to the nurseries, and in 1895 entered into partnership with his brother to take over the management, when Mr J. Laird, senr., retired from the business. Mr Laird has a farm of about 300 acres near Waverley, now managed by his sons. He is a member of the local Agricultural Association, and the bowling club. Mr Laird is married, and has four sons and two daughters.

Denton, photo.Mr. A. S. Laird.

Denton, photo.
Mr. A. S. Laird.

Mr James P. Laird, of Messrs. Laird and Sons, is the second son of the late Mr J. Laird, and was born in New Plymouth in the year 1864. He was educated at the Rev. West's private grammar school and the local district high school, and since leaving school has been continuously engaged in the firm's nursery. On his father's retirement, in 1895, he entered into partnership with his brother. Mr Laird is a Past District President of the Order of Druids, and held the rank of Sergeant in the Wanganui City Rifles. He is married, and has three sons and one daughter.

Sinclair, James Thomson, Seed Merchant, Taupo Quay, Wanganui. Mr Sinclair established his business in 1891. The premises consist of a large two-storeyed building, containing a shop, an office, a commodious bulk storeroom, and a fine showroom. An enormous stock of seeds and plants is carried, and at the store for bulk stock, in Wilson Street, a modern seed-cleaning plant is in operation. Mr Sinclair, besides being a direct importer of seeds, conducts a farm at Brunswick, where much of his stock is produced, including the “Champion” carrot, and many other vegetable seed specialties. Eight persons are constantly employed in the business, Mr Sinclair was born at Stirling, Scotland, and has devoted all his years to the seed business. He came to New Zealand in 1882, and for some time was employed by Messrs. Nimmo and Blair, of Dunedin. He then removed to Wanganui, where he assisted the late Mr James Laird for some years before starting business on his own account. Mr Sinclair is a member of the committee of the Agricultural Association.