The turf has been turned on the first of the Bay of Plenty Garden & Art Festival's concept gardens.

Isaac Weston and Lara Bui were at the festival hub site at Tauranga Racecourse this week to check their plot, which they will transform in the lead up to the festival in November.

The concept gardens will be the handiwork of Bui (Cool Plants) and Weston (Re.Work.It.) as well as landscape architect Nichola Vague. The racecourse will also be this year's festival hub and venue for Bloom in the Bay festival action.

Weston and Bui said their plot would incorporate a feature tree, low-lying plants and Weston's totem art.


His totem creations will be specific to the Bay, reflecting the Kaimai Range, Wairoa River and the stingrays of Tauranga harbour.

BOP Garden and Art Festival director Marc Anderson said it was a pleasure to create new gardens around town, and adding the racecourse to the mix "would be wonderful".

The concept gardens created at the 2018 festival hub remained open to the public at the Historic Village.

Anderson said strong interest had already been shown in the 2020 festival, which would be held from November 19-22.

Ticket sales at this early stage were greater than at the same time in 2018 when the festival was last held.

The festival's Super Early Bird ticket sales from June were good news.

Ticket purchasers were from throughout the Waikato, Hawke's Bay, Gisborne, Auckland, Wellington, Manawatu, Northland and Christchurch, as well as strong interest from the Bay of Plenty.

"We are pleased with the New Zealand-wide interest at this time, and it is really positive for all of us that people are finding exciting things to do and attend within New Zealand considering what we have all endured over the last few months," Anderson said.


Ticket vouchers could be bought now at Palmers Bethlehem (the festival's garden and art trail sponsor) or by visiting, or

At this time, all ticket voucher purchases will be redeemable for a festival pack comprising a festival pass, festival directory and garden and art trail map. Festival packs will be distributed closer to the festival date.

General Festival Pack sales will also be available at other outlets, including those in outlying areas such as Katikati and Te Puke from September 1.

The festival will include more than 70 garden and art stops. Bloom in the Bay adds to the festival's appeal, incorporating food, live music, art galleries, a floral art exhibition, speaker series, sculpture, environmental displays, and the concept gardens.

Bloom in the Bay is free to enter for those who hold a festival pass and will be open to the general public with $5 ticket sales at the gate during the festival days.

Entry is free for children aged 14 and under and for festival pass holders.


Bayleys will again be the overall festival partner. Marc also thanks TECT and Tauranga City Council for their continued support.

- Supplied copy