Taranaki Garden Festival 2019

Words by  Lyn Humphrey
Taranaki Garden Festival 2019 Taranaki Garden Festival 2019

When: 1 — 10 November

Why you need to get fully immersed in the splendour of our ever-changing Taranaki Garden Festival.

And it’s all happening just over your fence…

The 2019 Taranaki Garden Festival is this year presenting a plethora of pleasures to whet every palate.

The 32nd festival, from November 1 – 10, focusses the spotlight on Taranaki’s glorious gardens. This year, 40 throughout Taranaki will open their gates to garden lovers, three of which are newcomers. Take in The Nice Garden, an inner city tropical oasis hideaway, along with a musical soiree, Sax in the City, a wee tipple and a nibble. Year-old Ngā Manu Garden will impress those about to develop their own blank canvas. The third is The Environmental Garden, a riparian planting success and QEII National Trust reserve teeming with birdlife on the outskirts of Hawera.

Again this year, the garden experience is handsomely complemented by fun-filled entertainment for the whole family that includes premier speakers, wine and food, walks and tours and for the first time, the addition of art in its myriad forms.Hawera’s Tairoa Lodge (recent winner of Taranaki’s best wedding venue) is the beautiful setting for the festival’s long lunch, Luncheon en Blanc, with award-winning horticulturalist Kate Hillier as guest speaker. * Saturday November 2 Tairoa Lodge.

Not to be missed is the innovative floral-inspired Mitre 10 Flora and Fauna gala night filled with fashion, fun and frivolity. Let your imaginations go wild and array yourselves in flora-inspired creations: flower crowns and fancy faux fur * Saturday November 9 at Gover St Bistro.

Art in the Gardens: Another festival concept, the brainchild of festival manager Tetsu Garnett. Several of the established artists who are part of Taranaki’s popular arts trail have been invited to display in several of the gardens. You will find their treasures in Sequoia Steps, The van der Poel Garden, Where the Wild Things Are, La Vie en Rose, Cairnhill, Gravetye, Stanleigh Garden, The Nice Garden, Te Popo Gardens and Accommodation, Bublitz Garden and Tairoa Lodge. Diverse displays include glass, sculpture, ceramics, paintings, fabric, photography and wood. 

The Garden Speaker Series: Learn about the Right Plant, Right Place from Chris Paul, a successful Taranaki landscape designer, A Walk Through the  PĀst with Ken Horner at the historic Puketarata Garden pā site; have an Urban Permaculture Walk with Dee Turner in her permaculture garden and food forest; do the Market Farm Tour with award-winners Jodi Roebuck and Tanya Mercer at Roebuck Farm. Jodi is a renowned biointensive gardening educator keen to spread his knowledge. Festival veteran Jenny Oakley will demonstrate how to create her renown hanging baskets, and talk about plant propagation and cultivating threatened species . Oakley Garden is one of several Taranaki Gardens of National Significance. Hear about Cultivating Threatened Species from experts from Otari Native Botanic Garden at Te Kainga Marire, another garden of International significance.

Free Guided Walks and Tours: Enjoy demonstrations and strolling through our magnificent public gardens with guides who can inform you about the rich history and thriving plants and trees in our back yard. Te Henui Cemetery, Pukekura Park, Pukeiti, Tupare and Hollard Gardens all have allocated tour times throughout the festival. 

The Taranaki Garden Festival Hub: Where you can find festival  gurus on hand to share local knowledge of must-see things to do and see and where you can get your garden and festival tickets. The hub is in the courtyard of the historic White Hart Hotel within the city’s West End Precinct. 

While the legendary festival draws many garden lovers from all over Australasia, local folk will be excited and enjoy much of what is on offer, Tetsu says. Take a look at the festival booklet available free throughout the region at i-sites or the TAFT office, or head to www.gardenfestnz.co.nz and see for yourself what’s up the road and over the fence — be prepared to be surprised and proud.

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