A large country garden, an inner city haven, and two old gardens being brought back to their former glory.
A large country garden, an inner city haven, and two old gardens being brought back to their former glory are the four new gardens in this year’s Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular running from November 1 to 10.
Stanleigh Garden is a two-acre rustic love affair in the country for its creator, Donna Busby. Starting with a fabulous display of hostas along the entrance driveway, it’s easy to see why the garden is a favourite for wedding receptions.
Using recycled hard wood timber, Donna and husband Wayne have created quaint walk way bridges, post and rail fences, swing chairs and even a miniature cottage offering picturesque photo opportunities. Water features as well as wagon wells and other rustic artefacts can be discovered around the garden which is located near Inglewood on the lower slopes of Mt Taranaki at approximately 400 metres above sea level.
Plants with shades of red in their leaves or flowers is another clear theme to be found in Stanleigh Garden which was just paddocks barely 20 years ago. Rhododendrons with prolific flowers in shades of red to pink are among Donna’s plant selection along with red leaf maples.
While its altitude offers expansive views right up the Taranaki coast to Mokau to the North, and of Mt Taranaki to the South, it also means only hardy plants can survive the sub-alpine climate, says Donna.
“All the plants here have to be hardy and tough so survive the winter frosts – and occasional snow!” explains Donna.
Meandering paths bordered by small box hedges or local stone work lead the visitor on a gentle tour of the garden. In the centre of the garden is Donna’s favourite spot to admire her handiwork – a rustic gazebo overlooking the sculptured pond with its own family of resident ducks.
Another new garden to the Festival is Bohemian Embassy in central Hawera, South Taranaki.This old half acre garden is coming back to life after years being hidden away behind a wall of green in central Hawera. Perennial and mixed borders in the romantic cottage style have been planted around older trees. This is a plant lover’s garden with a wide range of unusual perennials, alpines and woodland plants.
Another garden undergoing a renaissance for the Festival is Mangaoraka Terraces near New Plymouth. This old established garden is being rejuvenated by Betty McDonald and John Treweek into an exciting landscape of old and new plants. With its different levels, it’s a garden full of surprises as so much is hidden. Walkways lead down to a deep narrow gully, which is shady and cool with tree ferns tempering the climate for rhododendrons, camellias, ferns and other treasures. Immediately above it is a new sun-drenched terrace area, with donkeys to greet you at the fence.
Meanwhile, Sequoia Steps in New Plymouth is a garden designed with low maintenance and outdoor living in mind by Shane & Mel Hurliman. The garden’s sheltered areas are perfect for BBQ’s and watching the sunset with a glass of wine in hand. Shane’s building abilities have created striking structural features, while Mel’s love of fragrant, soft hued flowers and foliage is being extended and refined.
Each of the new gardens will offer visitors a diverse and inspiring experience, says Festival Manager, Lisa Ekdahl.
“It takes a huge amount of effort to develop and prepare a garden to the standard we require in the Festival,” explains Ms. Ekdahl. “So we’re really thrilled to open the garden gates to four new stunning gardens for our visitors.”
Of the 46 premium Taranaki gardens in this year’s Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular, a quarter have been independently assessed as Gardens of Significance by the New Zealand Gardens Trust.
The 10-day festival running from November 1st to the 10th, has 12 gardens of significance including one garden of “International Significance”, six gardens of “National Significance” and five “Gardens of Significance”.
Four of the gardens in the Festival are public gardens and are free to enter. The remainder are private gardens with an incredible range of diversity from coastal sub-tropical gardens to sub-alpine gardens.
Located right around the Taranaki region, they also range in style from large, country-style rambling gardens, to gardens with a focus on native flora, to intimate inner-city gardens to traditional Japanese-style gardens.
Now in its 26th year, and one of the country’s longest running garden festivals, the Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular will launch details of the gardens in this year’s event, as well the guest speakers and events on July 4.