Twelve more garden gates will open to all and sundry over the weekend of November 7-8 for Riding for the Disabled 2020 Far North Garden Safari, giving the green-fingered fraternity the chance to put the woes of Covid-19 behind them for a couple of days, and support a worthwhile cause in the process.
This year's safari gardens are spread between Cooper's Beach and Hihi, with the headquarters at the St John hall in Cooper's Beach.
The itinerary includes six gardens that have not featured in previous safaris, four of them within walking distance of each other, while the other six have evolved significantly since they last welcomed visitors.
The weekend will also feature the traditional raffles and plant stalls, but food will be available only on the Saturday. Local cafés will be open on the Sunday, and will be pleased to cater to the peckish.
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Tickets ($25), with the detailed programme, are available at the CBEC Garden Centre in Pukepoto Rd, McCarthny Mitre 10, the i-Site at Te Ahu, all in Kaitaia, Bloomfields Garden Centre at Aurere, Mangonui Stationary and Lotto, and Needful Things in Kerikeri. Tickets give admission to every garden over both days.
A bus, $10 per seat, will leave from Te Ahu at 9am sharp on the Saturday. To book a seat, or for any other information, phone Irene on (09) 406-2022.
Meanwhile the gardens range from compact to large, one more than 4ha, several offering stunning views over Cooper's Beach, Mill Bay and Mangonui Harbour.
Some are well established, others still a work in progress, with several described as semi-tropical, featuring orchids, bananas and pineapples. The art of growing vegetables is also alive and well.
Not all the attractions have roots and leaves - one garden features kauri stumps imported from Waiharara, another impressive stone work. Olives add a further point of interest at two properties, one of them a commercial operation, where products will be available for purchase.