Garden & Art Festival: Day 1

Noticed a few recycled copper hot-water cylinders in today’s Tauranga city gardens as I hit the trail on day 1 of the 2018 Garden and Art Festival (one-day tickets still available).

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A copper planter in garden 33, created by Peter and Sandy Blair. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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There’s clever stuff galore created by Raymund Buckley in garden 31, including this outdoor table. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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This water feature is in garden 26 where owner Isaac Weston also has wood and copper works for sale. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Isaac creates his copper and timber art under the brand Reworkit.

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Regular reader Philippa asked me to include a photo of Isaac’s clever sun dial – there are many more styles for sale. Photo: Sandra Simpson

And before we leave the coppery theme, how about this beauty from the rose-filled front garden of Helen and Barry Green? (Garden 34, and the back garden’s pretty good too.)

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Rose Bonfire was eye-catching today. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Garden and Art Festival visitors were treated to some grand views too …

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The inner harbour from garden 25. The figure you see is taking the steps that lead to an elevated, private deck and then the beach. The whole garden has been done in 12 months, a real credit to owner and designer Michelle McDonnell. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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Bridget Little has decorated a table on the verge between her home and the beach at garden 29. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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St Francis watches over a cool corner in garden 27, where birds are actively encouraged to flock – and feed on slugs and snails. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Armistice centenary

We split up today to mark the centenary of the end of World War 1. The Vege Grower and I were in Wellington (where the weather was absolutely, positively gorgeous) and the Young Adult Lawnmower was in Tauranga.

I went to a LitCrawl session at the National Library: The Eleventh Hour on The Eleventh Day, where writers young and old – and including two teenage Syrian refugee brothers – responded to the topic.

The Vege Grower headed off to the National Ceremony at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park and came back speaking of it in glowing terms, and with an official programme.

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The cover of the beautifully produced programme.

The inside back cover records the plant material used to make the Wreath of Remembrance: Olive, pohutukawa, Turkey oak (Quercus cerris), northern rata, a native fern (it doesn’t specify which one), Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia), eucalyptus, kōwhai, rosemary, and mānuka flowers.

The YA Lawnmower, meanwhile, was minding the hacienda and went to a Tauranga screening of They Shall Not Grow Old, Peter Jackson’s compilation of documentary footage from London’s Imperial War Museum that has been cleaned up and colourised.

It doesn’t start or end in colour, instead it’s only when the soldiers get to France that it becomes colour. He described it as informative, thought-provoking and very moving.

Here it comes!

Every 2 years gardeners in the Western Bay of Plenty get to indulge their passion with a vengeance as the Garden and Art Festival rolls out the welcome mat to – this time – 71 properties between Katikati and Rangiuru (south of Te Puke) and including Tauranga’s urban area and Matapihi. Some stops are gardens only, some are gardens with art on display, some are art only and there are pop-up cafes here and there.

As well, Tauranga’s Historic Village is hosting The Festival Hub – speakers, workshops, concept gardens and floral art. If you’ve bought a ticket, entry to the speaker sessions is free, otherwise you can go along and listen for a very reasonable $5.

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A welcoming corner awaits in Garden no. 21. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Coincidentally, on Wednesday I happened to visit 2 gardens that are in the festival, and speak to the owner of another one. All very much looking forward to interacting with visitors and happily putting final touches to their gardens.

Tickets are available from Palmers Bethlehem, Décor Gardenworld (Bethlehem), Baycourt (Tauranga), Macandmor Art Space (Goddards Arcade, Tauranga), Pacifica Home and Garden Centre (Papamoa), Arts Junction Katikati and Te Puke Florist, as well as the festival website. A 1-day pass is $35, a 4-day pass $65.

The festival runs from Thursday to Sunday (November 15-18) and there’s a shuttle bus option available for anyone not wanting to, or who can’t, drive.

See you there (and drive carefully)!

BOP Iris Show 2018

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A stem of Asha Michelle, grown by Christina Braybrook, was judged Tall Bearded Champion and Queen of the Show. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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Best NZ-bred iris was Artist Daughter, grown by Christina Braybrooke (to the eye it’s more purple, rather than the blue the camera has seen). Photo: Sandra Simpson

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Best seedling was this bloom grown by Cris Savage. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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Best Vase was this group of Pacific Coast irises (native to the western US, from Oregon to California), grown by Christina Braybrook who also, it will be no surprise, won the points trophy. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Other irises on show that caught my eye …

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Irwell Desert Sands, grown by Wendy Begbie. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Wendy Begbie owns the Amazing Iris Garden near Katikati, well worth a visit at this time of year (open Friday-Sunday) – and part of the Garden and Art Festival from November 15-18.

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Caramel Cream is a NZ-bred Spuria (beardless) iris – this beauty grown by Merv and Lyn Stockley. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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Merlyn Rouge is a Louisiana iris, this one grown by Christina Braybrook. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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Gordon Koberstein entered this striking unnamed seedling. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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Highline Amethyst is a Spuria iris, this one grown by Merv and Lyn Stockley. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Read more about the BOP Iris Group here.

Tauranga Rose Show 2018

This week’s cold snap might have slowed spring growth to almost a halt but BOP Rose Society members were upbeat at their show today and had a fine looking champions table.

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Champion of Champions and Champion Small Stem  was Invincible grown by Irene Taylor. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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Hamilton Gardens won Champion Full Bloom for Irene Taylor. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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Champion Miniature Rose was Glowing Amber grown by Beverly Turnwald. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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Joan Monica, grown by Russell Lowe was Champion Decorative Bloom. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Champion Miniature Stem, 4 or more blooms: Patio Prince, grown by Beverly Turnwald. Champion Miniature Stem: Dinky Pinky, grown by Irene Taylor. Champion Miniature Full Bloom: Wee Jock, grown by Janet Pike. Champion Miniature Decorative Bloom: Perfection grown by Janet Pike.

Champion Basket: Dublin Bay and Casino grown by Elizabeth Murphy.

Amore Roses from Hamilton had brought across some of their Piccolo roses (patio-style bush and standard) which are practically thornless.

Catherine’s gardens

Two palace gardens we visited in the Baltic area were unusual, to our eyes anyway, in that the parterre gardens beside the buildings – there were extensive parks surrounding the ‘home’ gardens – used ground covers made from coloured, crushed material. We’re more used to seeing plant-filled parterres so this is a distinct style.

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Kadriorg Palace and terrace garden in Tallinn, Estonia. Parterre gardens are made to be viewed from above to appreciate the patterns. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Kadriorg Park in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, covers about 70ha and was constructed from 1718 on the orders of Russian tsar Peter I (Peter the Great who founded St Petersburg further up the coast in 1703 and won this area from the Swedes in 1710). These days, the summer retreat he built for his wife, Catherine – Kadriorg means ‘Catherine’s valley’ – is an art museum.

Peter realised his family wouldn’t make great use of the palace and ordered that the park and its carefully crafted gardens be open to the public (he was great, after all).

After Peter died in 1725, Russian royalty lost interest holidaying in far-off Tallinn, but  wealthy families began to construct villas nearby (the Presidential Palace was built in 1938) and the area remains “a cut above”.

Wikipedia reports that “the gardener Ilya Surmin” was responsible for the flower garden, but gives no more clues to the life of this man.

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Another view of Kadriorg’s garden – with the surrounding park in the background. Photo: Sandra Simpson

The garden’s paths are a sand-fine gravel mix, while the red material within the garden spaces is crushed brick. The edge gardens are lined with box hedging, while the interior beds are lined with metal ‘boxing’! The beds are planted with annuals such as bedding begonias, which makes sense, given the climate – long winters and short, concentrated growing periods.

The Catherine Palace (named for the same Catherine as Kadriorg) near St Petersburg, also uses crushed materials, but only grass and topiary, for its ‘parterre’ gardens – crushed brick, coal, glass and sand of different shades were typical features of this palace’s 18th century gardens.

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The Catherine Palace parterre uses sand and brick and crushed coal, as well as grass, to create its patterns that resemble the parquet floors inside the palace. Photo: Sandra Simpson

The palace was created as an official summer residence after Peter the Great presented a farm, and farmhouse, on a hill to his future wife Catherine I in 1710. She began improving and extending from 1712-24, including planting an orchard, but things really took off when Catherine and Peter’s daughter, Tsarina Elizabeth (who ruled in her own right), extended the building, didn’t like it and in 1752 gave Italy-born architect Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli creative freedom. He turned to Versailles for inspiration and gave us what we see today – a palace with a 300m breadth.

Elizabeth enjoyed hunting here and having picnics – her hobby, our guide Irina told us, was to “change gowns”. After her death in 1762 15,000 dresses were found, two trunks of silk stockings, 200 pairs of unworn shoes – and the state treasury was empty!

Catherine II (Catherine the Great, and granddaughter-in-law to Peter the Great) sent architects to England to study and then had them remodel the grounds, while in 1771 English gardener Joseph Bush came to supervise work on the 70ha park. The arrival route brought visitors through an English-style park, over a small canal with a pair of Chinese figures holding lanterns and to the palace’s porte cochere (covered entry).

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One of the pair of Chinese lantern figures on the bridge from the English park to the Catherine Palace itself. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Catherine was notorious both as a spender and a miser! Irina said of several projects, “she rejected to pay for it”. But she spent up large to build St Petersburg’s Hermitage art gallery and fill it with treasures, and she kept this palace up.

The first railway line in Russia was built in 1837 and ran the 17km from St Petersburg to Tsarskoye Selo, the village that grew up around the several royal residences here (since 1937 called Pushkin). The trip took 35 minutes and in 1838 there were five passenger trains a day.

Although Alexander II and his family used the Catherine Palace, Nicholas II, the last tsar of Russia, moved permanently to the nearby Alexander Palace where he could keep hidden his son’s hemophilia – after his abdication the family was held prisoner in the building from March-August, 1917.

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The reconstructed Amber Room – the band at the top that runs up to the ceiling is trompe l’oeil work. The rest real! Image: Wikipedia

The highlight of a visit to the Catherine Palace must be the reconstructed Amber Room, created in 1750 but stolen by the Nazis in 1942 and “disappearing” in 1945. The re-creation project, which ran from 1979 to 2003, received a $US3.5 million donation from a West German company. In all 5.7 tonnes of amber, including waste, was used to re-create, using old photos, the mosaics that cover the walls of the small room. It’s an almost overwhelming effect.

Events blooming all over

I hope the Events page listing is helpful to people – I try and keep it as up-to-date as possible and with a focus on events that people in the Western Bay might like to know about and that are being held somewhere close enough to be tempting.

If you take a look at what’s coming up through to the end of November you’ll see that spring has well and truly sprung – garden events galore, including Tauranga’s own Garden and Art Festival! Here’s a cut-out-and-keep list for your diary planning.

November 7-11:

November 10:

  • Bromeliad Display & Sales Day, 8am-noon, Matua Hall, Levers Rd, Tauranga, free entry. A bromeliad display and a wide range of plants for sale, many rare/unusual and not available at nurseries. Club members happy to advise on plants and their cultivation. Ph 07 576 7711.
  • Ferment, Preserve, Pickle, 9am-5pm, Pakaraka Farm, near Thames, $150.
  • November 10-11 Waikato Rose Show, noon-5pm (Sat); 10am-4.30pm (Sun), Hamilton Gardens, $5.
  • November 10-11 Franklin Hospice Garden Ramble.

November 11:

November 12 (Monday):

November 15-18: 

November 15 (Thursday):

  • Hand Tied Floral Arrangements, 10am-noon, Historic Village, Tauranga, $55.
  • Ruud Kleinpaste, 1-3pm, Historic Village, Tauranga, includes a ‘bush adventure’ with The Bug Man, $5 (free with a trail pass).
  • Geoff Canham, 3.30-4.30pm on public horticulture, Historic Village, Tauranga, $5 (free with a trail pass).
  • Ruud Kleinpaste, 4.30-6.30pm, Historic Village, Tauranga, includes ‘play time with insects’ with The Bug Man, $5 (free with a trail pass).

November 16:

  • Flower Crowns, 10am-noon, Historic Village, Tauranga, $65.
  • Geoff Canham, 1-2pm on public horticulture, Historic Village, Tauranga, $5 (free with a trail pass).
  • Terrariums, 1-3pm, Historic Village, Tauranga, $45.
  • The Elms, 2-3pm, presentation on the historic site and garden, Historic Village, Tauranga, $5 (free with a trail pass).
  • Ruud Kleinpaste, 4.30-6.30pm, Historic Village, Tauranga, includes ‘play time with insects’ with The Bug Man, $5 (free with a trail pass).
  • Rain Gardens, with Nichola Vague, 6-6.30pm, Historic Village, Tauranga, $5 (free with a trail pass).
  • Matamata Rose Show, noon-4pm, Civic Centre. Contact Trish.
  • November 16-18 Franklin Rose Show, St Andrew’s Centre, Waiuku.

November 17:

  • November 17-18 Tauranga Fuchsia Show, noon-3pm (Sat) and 9am-3pm (Sun), Arts & Crafts Centre, Elizabeth St West, $3. Fuchsia plants for sale. Ph Pat 07 579 1655.
  • Kokedama, 10am-noon, Historic Village, Tauranga, $45.
  • Art in the Garden with Nichola Vague, 3.30-4pm, Historic Village, Tauranga, $5 (free with a trail pass).
  • Bees, Bugs & Botanicals, painting workshop, 1-4pm, Historic Village, Tauranga, $95.
  • Pakaraka Farm Tour, 9.30am-12.30pm, near Thames, $25.

November 18:

  • Chalk Pastel Flowers, 10am-noon, Historic Village, Tauranga, $95.
  • Small Garden Solutions with Nichola Vague, 1.30-2pm, Historic Village, Tauranga, $5 (free with a trail pass).
  • The Elms, 4-5pm, presentation on the historic site and garden, Historic Village, Tauranga, $5 (free with a trail pass).
  • Cambridge Garden Festival, Waikato, NZ, $40 for 10 gardens; $10 for a lily farm tour.

November 20:

November 22:

November 24-25:

  • Waihi Garden Ramble, 9am-4.30pm, gardens of east Waihi, $20. Tickets from Mitre 10, Seddon St, Waihi. Email Liz.

November 25:

November 28-December 2: