Weekend events

Saturday sees a celebration of Greerton’s cherry blossom – although with the wild weather of the past few days I have been wondering how much blossom would be left. Greerton Mainstreet manager Victoria Thomas had the same fears and says she has been crossing everything she could to try and encourage the blossom to stay.

“But we’ve been lucky,” Victoria told me today. “The blossom wasn’t full out so although the trees have been knocked around a bit everything’s hanging on. And I think petals floating in the air just makes it all the more beautiful.”

The Japanese call this effect sakura fubuki, or cherry blossom blizzard.

Greerton Village green at peak blossom last year.

The village is planted with Prunus Awanui, a tree discovered and developed by Taranaki plantsman Keith Adams who saw the potential in it and named it for the area of New Plymouth he lived in. (Keith is better known for his rhododendron-hunting expeditions to the tropics.)

The festival, which is billed as a family day, begins at 10.30am with action focused on the village green on Chadwick Rd.

On Sunday, from 10am-4pm, there’s a celebration of spring gardens and gardening at Te Puna Quarry Park with a new event, Spring Fling.

There will be floral demonstrations with Francine Thomas, talks on orchid care, a children’s corner (including readings by Tommy Kapai), abseiling, Devonshire teas with scones baked on site by Shona Purves (brave woman), garden sculpture and ceramic art for the garden.

And, of course, plants for sale – including clivias, fuchsias, shrubs, perennials, ornamental trees, fruit trees, microgreens, and plants to attract butterflies.

The Spring Fling isn’t replacing the popular QuarryFest (taking place on November 3) but is all about encouraging people into the 32ha park at a time when when the gardens are at a seasonal peak.

Kalanchoe pubescens flowers in front of a Dendrobium speciosum (Sydney rock orchid). These orchids are having their best flowering yet, possibly thanks to the long, hot summer.

Te Puna Quarry Park is signposted off SH2 north of Tauranga (coming from the city turn left into Quarry Rd and follow it to the end). There are large carparks available for the event with minibuses shuttling back and forth to the park entry. The Spring Fling will go ahead rain or shine (only a torrential downpour will see it cancelled, organisers say).

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