By Cynthia Daly.
For lovers of beautiful gardens and gardening enthusiasts, tickets are selling fast for the much- awaited Mercury Bay Lions Garden Ramble Whitianga. So, let’s take a sneak peek “Through the Garden Gate” of two very different gardens to give you a taste of the unexpected delights that will be on show.
A look at two of the 15 gardens:
The artistic talents of the owners feature throughout this first garden in form, colour and quirkiness designed to thrill young and old alike. The ‘gate’ is almost the solitary reminder of this former farmland where rocks and rustic sleepers now define outlines as tall trees draw the eye across the expanse and colour bursts and mingles from ground covers to spring and summer flowering bulbs.
It has been a labour of love for approximately seven years and as the owner’s grandchildren seek out their favourite hideaways among the palms where spiders and snakes thrill or visit their meerkat friends at the fairy house, you can see the contentment it brings to all who wander through the garden gate. As spring gives way to summer bearded irises, dahlias, roses, and annuals splash favourite colours of red and blue throughout while the Chinese Toon (toona sinensis) pales from pink to soft green and various native trees sing out with tui and bellbird calls.
Linger awhile in this garden and simply absorb its tranquillity. See if you can spot the wishing tree while you’re there.
At the next garden, the ‘lady of the shed’ gardener and her pup Milly greet us at the gate. Once inside this petite urban garden, a world of potted treasures is tucked in among the tropical lushness of araliaceae, vireyas, cycad, bromeliads and the rich red of nandina while the scents of rose geranium will soon mingle with the sweet citrus and vanilla fragrance of the many gardenias. This is a garden full of surprises from succulent cuttings sprouting in the hearts of bromeliads to the quaint upcycling of wooden shelves to hold treasures. The piece de resistance must be the ladies' shed filled with a mindful of inspiration from wine carafes growing cuttings to gardening bits and bobs the owner has collected throughout her life. You will want a ‘ladies shed’ after visiting. When the owner moved to this property, large trees blocked out the light. Now potted summer colours in purple, pink and white, and urns filled with palms create focal points reflected in mirrors that extend the depth of the garden. See if you can recognise the coal scuttle.
Café, Plant emporium, offered to all garden ramblers: The Mercury Bay Lions Garden Ramble Whitianga “Through the Garden Gate” on Saturday, November 4 and Sunday November 5, features 15 gardens, all with their own sense of uniqueness lovingly created by their owners. A garden café and plant emporium will be available along the ramble for refreshments and plant titbits to take home.
All proceeds from this Garden Ramble will go towards Project Mammogram.