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Garden tours offered free to quake-hit

Mon 28 Feb 2011 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

The organisers of this weekend's Heroic Gardens Festival in the Auckland region are offering free entry to anyone who has fled the horror of Christchurch. They say they wish to honour the courage and strength of the people of Christchurch and the amazing work that Ellerslie International Flower Show team did in turning their marquees in Hagley Park into a refuge for 2000 people. "We invite all people who have recently arrived from Christchurch free entry to Heroic Gardens. To assist our gate volunteers, you must bring something such as your boarding pass to identify yourselves," says Gill Franklin, from the Heroic Gardens' Organising Committee. "Ellerslie International Flower Show, which has had to cancel, has set up an arrangement so that Ellerslie ticketholders can donate their refund direct to the Red Cross. To support this initiative, Heroic Gardens will also accept Ellerslie tickets in lieu of our own." Heroic Gardens is a festival featuring gay and lesbian gardens from throughout the Auckland region. It is Auckland's biggest, most popular and only region-wide exhibition of privately owned gardens and is run entirely by volunteers. It is a charitable event and the beneficiary is the Hospices of Auckland. This weekend every garden will also have a collection bucket for Red Cross Christchurch appeal. This year 23 gardens are on show this weekend from Whangaparaoa to Pukekohe / Waiuku with much to enjoy in between. "There are grand established country gardens, small urban retreats, urban organic food production, lots of subtropical splendour, and two magnificent historical properties," Franklin says. Rannoch, the home of the James Wallace Arts Trust, has a collection of New Zealand sculpture and the Kelliher Estate on Puketutu Island (open Sunday only) is said to be exquisite, with renowned hospitality from Dawson's Catering. Primarily a sub-tropical summer festival, there are strong showings of bromeliads, palms and cycads in both suburban, inner city and rural gardens. Also included are organic, perennial borders, farm, orcharding and formal gardens and a huge variety of water features. Refreshments, plants and art works are on sale at a number of gardens. In this festival the owners are also the gardeners and they are on-hand to talk to visitors throughout the weekend. All ticket sales from this charitable fundraising event will go to the Hospices of Auckland. Hospice volunteers are pitching in to help the gardeners throughout the weekend. Last year the gardeners raised $51,500 for hospices. The Heroic Gardens Festival tickets and programmes are available at Kings Plant Barns and Palmers Gardenworld Centres, selected retailers and your local Auckland Hospice. Tickets are $30 and valid for both days. To buy tickets on-line and for more information visit www.heroicgardens.org.nz.    

Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff

First published: Monday, 28th February 2011 - 12:54pm

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