Article Title:Green thumbs exposed at 2008's Heroic Gardens
Category:Events
Author or Credit:Matt Akersten
Published on:6th February 2008 - 12:47 pm
Published by:GayNZ.com
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Story ID:5530
Text:The seed was sown back in 1997 - and now 2008's annual HEROic Gardens Tour will be the 12th summer showcase of gay and lesbian gardens around the Auckland region. Organiser Shane Neal says he's excited to announce nine new gardens open to explore this time around - plus 13 favourites from previous years. Ranging from city courtyards to country areas, he says it's an opportunity to see a diverse range of greenery, meet the owners, and get inspired. "Probably 95% of the people that go to Heroic Gardens do it independently," explains Neal. "Couples or little groups might grab the guide and travel around in the car together. But there are also some organised bus tours - so if people haven't got transport, there are some options for them to get around. We get groups coming in from New Plymouth, Hamilton and other areas on bus tours too." Most of the garden owners will be present over the tour weekend to share the 'how and why' of what they have achieved, and as usual, cafes, raffles, sculpture and plant sales will be available along the way. New attractions for this year include a Waitakere Coastal Beach-style property in Piha; an eclectic subtropical garden in New Lynn; a large formal-style garden overlooking the Onepoto Basin in Northcote; a haven for exotic finches in Mount Eden; Dorothy's Sister's back hideaway of delights in Ponsonby; a lush subtropical garden in One Tree Hill; roomfuls of flowers in Kohimarama; splashes of colour and art in Howick; and an acre of beautiful old-fashioned garden in Papakura. Over the last eleven years Heroic gardens festival has given over $415,000 to two charities who assist those living with or affected by HIV. In the first ten years $375,000.00 was donated to the Auckland City Mission for this purpose. Herne Bay house has since closed, and so last year the organizing committee decided to direct the funds to the Burnett Centre/Wellness Fund. This year's funds raised from the weekend festival will be split between three Auckland-based HIV/AIDS support groups which provide advocacy services and assistance to those infected with HIV/AIDS - Positive Women, Body Positive, and The Cartier Bereavement Trust. Neal and his partner are moving away from Auckland soon so he's sad to say this will be his last year as organiser of the Heroic Gardens tour. "I'll miss it, but it's time for someone else to step up to the plate and put their personality on the meeting." He acknowledges the passing of Fraser Moreton this year, who was a great supporter of the event. All 22 gardens on the 2008 tour are open both Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 February. Tickets, more photos and further information is available via the Heroic Gardens website on the link below. Matt Akersten - 6th February 2008    
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