New Zealand's biggest spring celebration offers 155 different creative places to visit over 10 days, says Taranaki Garden Festival manager Tetsu Garnett.
There are 44 festival gardens and 84 artists on this year's Taranaki Arts Trail and 27 properties open for the Taranaki Sustainable Backyards Trail.
The Taranaki Garden Festival and arts trail collaborated for the first time in 2020 and they are working together again.
For this year's spring celebration, on from October 29 to November 7, the arts trail is expanding to cover both weekends and some artists are opening even longer.
The 34th festival will cover a wide range of styles, stunning private and public gardens of all styles and sizes, along with talks, tours and workshops.
This year, the Festival Hub will be in the W.R. Phillips Volkswagen Taranaki showroom at 156 Devon St West.
"People can come to buy their tickets and be able to talk to our dedicated festival gurus to create an itinerary to drive around the mountain," Tetsu says.
At Sequoia Steps in New Plymouth, Shane and Mel Hurliman will be open in the day and at night.
The couple first opened their garden in 2013, missed 2014, and have been in the festival ever since. Shane says there is a wave of positivity from all the people who come through.
"We are sharing our garden with like-minded people. I look forward to the garden show more than I enjoy international travel."
Last year, there were 79,161 garden visits during the TAFT-organised festival and already there has been a high demand from people requesting the three-part programme.
Taranaki Arts Trail co-ordinator Niki Jenkinson says the artist studios will be open for longer.
"Because of the huge success last year, we have expanded it to two weekends, and this also accommodates the garden festival visitors.
Of the 84 artists in the trail, 45 will be available to visit for the whole 10 days.
Niki says with so many artists taking part, opening for just one weekend had made it too hard for visitors to plan their itineraries.
The arts trail spans the whole of Taranaki and includes everything from large sculptures to fibre figures, oil paintings to intricate whimsical creatures, quirky and beautiful ceramics to bespoke jewellery and avant-garde furniture to upcycled back-shed art.
"You can have nice strolls through the gardens and artists' studio. No rushing, just time to enjoy this huge visual feast that this collaborative event brings to the region."
Taranaki Sustainable Backyards Trail project manager Erin Strampel says of the 27 open properties, 16 are new to the event.
"Something significant this year is we have gardens in alpine environments through to beach front properties growing on sand. We have those extremes, which is quite cool."
There are also culturally significant gardens, including Parihaka Papakāinga, Teikaroa at Pungarehu and Haven on High St, Eltham.
Visitors will also be able to see gardens that have changed to being sustainable and flourished since being in earlier trails.
"It will be nice for people to return to see that growth. Even in the established gardens people change and move things around."
The backyards trail is on both weekends, but some gardens are open longer. See the programme to check times and to find out about talks, demonstrations, informal tours, a Growers Gathering event and garden e-bike tour.
Justine Gilliland, chief executive of Venture Taranaki, says combining the garden festival with the Taranaki Arts Trail, Taranaki Sustainable Backyards Trail, and RESET (arts festival) in 2020 resulted in a significant increase in visitation compared with the previous year.
"We anticipate the 2021 festival will build on this success and momentum, providing substantial economic benefit across the region, as well as bringing together the community and increasing vibrancy right around Taranaki Maunga. We are thrilled to once again be able to support this growing and evolving event."
The Taranaki Garden Festival is also supported by the New Plymouth District Council, Toi Foundation, W.R. Phillips Volkswagen Taranaki, Mitre 10 and Mitre 10 Mega, Taranaki Regional Council, BERL, Nice Hotel & Table, Smokeylemon, Hello Taranaki, NZCT and The Lion Foundation.