Gardening - A Life sentence?

A light hearted look at the insatiable need of gardeners to garden by a panel of self confessed ''gardenaholics' is just one highlight of the Speakers and Workshop series in the NZ Garden & Artfest next month.

The series covers everything from gardening tiny city plots and rooftops to castle grounds and country estates and features gardeners of renown in New Zealand and Australia.

NZ Gardener magazine editor at large and popular Sunday paper columnist Lynda Hallinan is sure to be hilarious as she relates her transition from single suburban gardener to wife and mother on a 20 hectare rural property - the subject of her recently released book, Back to the Land: A Year of Country Gardening.

Australian broadcaster and author Stephen Ryan is bringing to the festival a 'virtual tour' of the extensive garden he created in rural Victoria after the grounds had been completely destroyed in the Ash Wednesday fires. 

Dunedin's Larnach Castle has Margaret Barker's 45 years of toil to thank for the fact that its grounds are now rated a 'Garden of International Significance' by the New Zealand Gardens Trust.



These three passionate gardeners speak individually but also make up the panel discussing the gardening obsession.


In the workshops aspiring gardeners can learn how to create a DIY beehive and keep bees in an urban garden, see a demonstration on topiary pruning from local expert Claudia Gorringe, and learn about the medicinal qualities of our native plants from Robert McGowan a former catholic priest who began his study of rongoa (Maori Medicine) when he worked at a Maori mission up the Whanganui River. He later spent 15 years teaching rongoa at Waikato University. 

The speaker and workshop series is at Tauranga's Baycourt and at the City Carpark opposite, on November 3 and 4, the weekend prior to the weeklong garden trail which kicks off Monday November 5. Tickets are only $9.90 per session; the panel discussion at $25 includes bubbles and brownies.

More information on the Garden and Art Fest website

Photo: Lynda Hallinan, garden writer and author of 'Back to the Land: A Year of Country Gardening

- Bay of Plenty Times

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