Gardener/artists' heaven at festival

By John Cousins

An amazing living green wall using unique patented technology will be showcased at the Garden & Artfest's inaugural rooftop garden in Tauranga.

Natural Habitats' Green Wall, an eye-catching decorative feature of the garden, has been selected as the theme of the festival which runs from November 1 to 11.

The garden on the carpark roof opposite Baycourt is the festival's free community event. It will buzz with displays and practical advice - all designed to get people thinking about greening the cityscape.

Festival director John Beech said the focus of the rooftop garden was firmly on urbanisation and higher density living - inspiring the creation of gardens on small city sections, courtyards and balconies.



He said the rooftop will feature about six vignettes of garden designs, including the Green Wall, a garden display by urban planners Boffa Miskell, and a native garden created by Mangatawa Nursery working in collaboration with Maori artist Linda Munn.

Other displays will include bonsai, topiary, palms and cycads, and Ashburton gardener Jade Temepara will give talks on her project to get families to grow their own food. The Environment Centre will have a stand featuring community gardens, composting and worm farming.

Continuous loop DVDs of the Ellerslie, Melbourne and Chelsea flower shows will be shown inside a marquee.

A series of workshops on Sunday November 4 will give people the inside story on growing to seed (Gerard Martin), topiary (Claudia Gorringe), urban beekeeping (Marcia Meehan), the medicinal uses of native plants (Robert McGowan), planting a good food supply (Melody Williams and Antoinette van der Weerden) and four 'agony uncles' who will answer questions on gardening problems. Admittance to each workshop was $9.90 and the event was sponsored by the Bay of Plenty Times.

Natural Habitats' Bay of Plenty manager Jason Muir said the Green Wall would be the backdrop to the rooftop garden's stage. They had patented the concept in partnership with an Australian company.

Another inaugural event for the festival was the Craigs Investment Partners Sculpture Symposium in which 15 sculptors would each create a work on Tauranga's waterfront.

The eighth Garden & Artsfest is unique to New Zealandand the garden and art trail, with 89 different attractions, stretches across the Western Bay of Plenty.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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