Nau mai, haere mai. Welcome to Festival 2021

Believe it or not, the Taranaki Garden Festival has run every year for 34 years. It started life as a rhododendron festival and we still have a few rhododendrons in the garden, quite a few in fact, including the lovely sino nuttallii.

The official programme for the Taranaki Garden Festival was launched this week.

Last year, when we reopened for the first time in seven years, it coincided with the domestic tourism boom after our short lockdown. The numbers were astounding but we managed, bar the poocalypse. This year, I thought visitor numbers might receive a further boost from Australian garden-lovers starved of other travel destinations. Chance would be a fine thing.

We follow Australian Covid closely with our immediate family spread across three states there. We had hoped for an extended weekend get-together in August. Somewhere more northerly in Australia we thought – maybe the Whitsundays or even the Sunshine Coast, thereby introducing a fourth state into already complicated travel plans. For overseas readers, this was because of the introduction of a quarantine-free travel bubble between NZ and Australia. That is not going to happen since the arrival of the Delta variant into Australia and the suspension of the travel bubble. Clearly planning ahead with any certainty is not an option at this time, though I have pointed out to our children that when the bubble reopens, it does appear that there is less likelihood of getting trapped on this side than on the Australian side. But I am guessing only a few intrepid Australians who can risk getting trapped away from home by a Covid outbreak may turn up for our garden festival.

The world may be sick of Covid but Covid is not done with us yet.

Hippeastrum papilio in the Rimu Walk

Back to the festival. We are reopening but only for the ten days of from Friday 29 October to Sunday 7 November. I was so shellshocked last year, I wasn’t sure we would reopen but the addition of Zach to our small team has taken the pressure of preparation right off me and the garden has never looked better. We have never been so advanced in our preparation this early before. There will be no neglected areas or tasks unfinished, the way we are going. It brings the pleasure back to gardening when the anxiety and pressure of getting it to opening standard is relieved by an extra pair of very capable hands.

The Court Garden in early November – one of a series of five new summer gardens we have created in the years we spent closed

Following the success of the workshops Mark and I offered last year (well, mostly me, to be honest but I am reliant on Mark as my in-house technical advisor and resident expert), we are offering more this year. So many people missed out on  ‘New Directions with Sunny Perennials’ that we are offering it twice this year, with another valuable year of experience under our belts. The blurb reads:

New Directions with Sunny Perennials

For over a decade, Mark and Abbie have been looking at modern trends in perennial gardening, variously described as ‘Dutch New Wave’, ‘New Perennials’ and the ‘New Naturalism’. This has culminated in the planting of the summer gardens. Join them for morning tea and a talk on key points they have distilled from visiting over 90 gardens in England, France and Italy, tracking the work of six contemporary designers and how they have applied this in their own garden.

Monday 1 Nov and Saturday 6 Nov 10.15am – 12.00

Are you looking for gentler ways to garden?

Instead of repeating the meadow workshop, we have expanded it to take in managing a wild garden as part of our personal commitment to finding softer, more naturalistic and sustainable ways to manage our garden.

A Gentler Way to Garden

The Jurys have been exploring strategies to ensure their garden is not only beautiful but also sustainable in the longer term and biologically friendly. Join them to learn about meadow styles and management and the techniques underpinning their new Wild North Garden and their park meadow.

Sunday 31 October 10.15am – 12.00

We are well on the way to being ready to open the Wild North Garden

All the information is online here and you can request a hard copy of the programme. Bookings for our workshops are essential and can be made through that link to the Festival Office.

We would love to see some of you here this spring.

Melding the old gardens with the new into a single garden experience

14 thoughts on “Nau mai, haere mai. Welcome to Festival 2021

  1. Alison

    Loved your garden last year and looking forward to it again this time. So many great ideas to take home.

    Reply
  2. Sue Trivett

    Hi We have friends in Australia (Perth and Adelaide) and have often suggested they visit NZ. It seems there s a natural hesitancy about crossing to your islands – is this due to some historical background (eg christian immigrants v.possible convicts)? We have raved about both North and South Islands…to no effect. Do New zealanders have the same ‘allergy’ to visiting Oz?!

    Reply
    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      Oh, not at all. I think it way more likely that your friends prefer to holiday somewhere warmer or more exotic, in the same way that mainland Australians do not go to Tasmania in droves. There is a lot of cross-Tasman rivalry but when the chips are down, Australia and NZ often stand together. NZ’s largest tourist numbers actually come from Australia and there is a huge volume of trans Tasman travel. Your friends may be looking a little more favourably at NZ now that there is literally no other offshore country they can travel to – but with the suspension of the travel bubble at the moment, they can’t even come here!

      Reply
  3. Roy Bilbie

    We’ve been to the Taranaki Garden festival twice in recent years once on a bus tour ( the year the All Blacks beat the wallabies in the World Cup) interesting reception on the bus. And in more recent years a self drive. Fabulous gardens and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Pity about the bubble, If you had been coming to Queensland you could have visited Tamborine Mountain we are having a Camellia and Magnolia Festival at the end of July. Mark would feel quite at home amongst his Magnolia hybrid creations. Hope to meet you both one day.
    Festival details tamborinemountaingardenclub.org.au
    Cheers
    Roy

    Reply
      1. Paddy Tobin

        The vaccination programme is progressing well here but it is disconcerting to hear reports yesterday that of yesterday’s 1,110 cases, 10% were of people who had been vaccinated. Those vaccinated will have milder symptoms, will be less ill and less likely to need to be admitted to hospital but some were admitted to hospital yesterday. The situation continues to be worrying.

      2. Abbie Jury Post author

        VERY worrying when you look at the impact of the Delta variant and the possibility now opening in England of evolving new variants. This has a long way to run yet.

  4. Lisa P

    Oh so fabulous Abbie! I went to the Rhododendron Festival in 88 or 89 and it was spectacular! I’m definitely tempted to go again. Where do you recommended staying while in Taranaki? It might be remiss of me to ask, but I am wondering what will happen to your garden when its time to pass on the baton? Will one of your children be taking over?

    Reply
    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      Definitely time for another visit, then! I am not in a position to advise on the best places to stay – maybe contact the iSite?
      Sadly, it does not look likely that any of our children will take over the garden at this stage but the world can change quickly, as we know.

      Reply
      1. Lisa P

        It definitely is and Pukeiti was the standout then although I’m not sure if it is quite as spectacular now. Did you previously own Woodleigh Nursery?

      2. Abbie Jury Post author

        No. Woodleigh Nursery was Glyn Church. Now operated at a different location by Janica Amoore. We used to trade as Mark Jury Nursery.

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