Lara and Isaac Weston have transformed their back yard into something so special, that it will feature in the Bay of Plenty Garden and Art Trail.

The biennial event will feature more than 50 properties across the Bay showcasing different gardens, artists and their creativity.

Lara and Isaac Weston moved to Matua about five years ago from the Mount.

"We never though our garden [would be in it]. We have been to the last two festivals and been to workshops. It was really serendipitous, I was thinking, 'I am 44 this year. I have got to do something with plants'."


She had just decided that, and created Cool Plants, when a neighbour suggested they enter their property into this year's festival.

They applied and were surprised to be accepted, she said.

"We love it and our friends and family love it. But you never would think it would be good enough to go into a festival situation."

Mrs Weston described it as "a good urban garden with lots of rooms".

"You've got a vege garden next to the pizza oven area, an oriental-inspired area and then wild flowers and fruit trees.

"It's not the rolling acres of gardens you see on some of the other amazing gardens but we love it."

Mrs Weston said she got into gardens and plants about eight years ago.

"I knew we were in trouble [with space] at the last house because I kept digging up the lawn to put more gardens in. I thought we were going to devalue the house so we moved.

"At first it was personal. We wanted to make things grow and pretty but the love has just blossomed."

Many of the features in the Westons' garden have been created by Mr Weston with things he has collected from the side of the road.

The pair were known locally as 'the Wombles'.

"Like the Wombles we go around picking up stuff from around the neighbourhood and turning it into good stuff. Most of what we have down in the garden is recycled.

"Isaac has picked up off the road side, and reworked it into something cool."

Festival director John Beech said there was plenty to see in this year's festival with more than 60 gardens and art stops.

"All the way from Katikati to Te Puke, and 25 per cent of this year's event will feature new gardens."

Mr Beech said this year the festival was celebrating its 10th anniversary so it had been running 20 years in the Bay

He encouraged punters to buy four day tickets to the event so they could get through a good combination of gardens and artist stops, listen to key speakers at The Lakes and also take part in the different workshops on offer.

"There is a huge variety of gardens, from small, urban gardens in the city, to large, sprawling rural gardens out in places like Omokoroa, it's difficult to have a favourite, it comes down to what people like seeing."

Mr Beech said it would best for people to head to the website to work out what was best for them.

Isaac and Lara Weston have transformed their Matua property to a hidden gem in the waterfront suburb. Photo/Ruth Keber
Isaac and Lara Weston have transformed their Matua property to a hidden gem in the waterfront suburb. Photo/Ruth Keber

The Bay of Plenty Garden and Art Trail will feature in the Bay from November 17 to 19 from 9.30am to 5pm and November 20, from 9.30am to 3pm.