Festival could become annual event

Putting the finishing touches to planning around November’s inaugural Garden Festival are Shirley Haycock, left, and Carey Church.

Cambridge’s green-fingered residents are in for a treat come November with the first in what is hoped will become an annual Garden Festival.

The inaugural November 18 event is a new Cambridge Rotary fundraising project. Tickets have just gone on sale, each featuring a map of 10 local properties selected for inclusion – a delightful range of large and small, classic and quirky gardens to enjoy.

Behind the initiative is Cambridge Rotary Club member, Carey Church. The company she runs with husband Peter Church, Moneyworks, is one of the festival’s two premier sponsors – the other is Amber Garden Centre.

Carey said the idea stemmed from a call from within Rotary for members to come up with fresh ideas for fundraising activities; the garden festival was one of them.

“Garden tourism is one of the most popular forms of tourism around today,” she said. “In the US alone, more people now go on garden tours than go to Las Vegas.”

Proceeds from the November festival ticket sales will go to three local charities – Cambridge Community House, Victim Support and the Rotary Club of Cambridge.

Other sponsors have come on board to support additional costs, such as the design and printing of the tickets and maps, and any promotion of the event.  Aside from the two premier sponsors, there are three silver sponsors (Powerhouse Realty, John Macdonald Builders and Hill Laboratories); three bronze sponsors (Cambridge Jewellers, Mighty River Domain and Gourmet Direct/Suburban Kitchen/Podium Café); and four others (Kaz Design, Rocketspark, Waipa District Council and Bruce Hancock Photography).

“Jan Mathers and Helen Haycock from the Cambridge Garden Club have done a wonderful job in picking a range of gardens for viewing, and early summer will be the perfect time for that. There is an old English country garden, a modern garden, one that reflects the 1960s, and a couple of bigger gardens in the mix. Cottage gardens, farm gardens … they are all very different.”

Carey said the tickets will enable visitors to ramble between all 10 gardens during the course of Sunday, November 18.  A limited number of extra tickets are offering the ‘optional extra’ of a behind-the-scenes tour of Kaipaki-based Blewdens Lilies, one of New Zealand’s largest producers of lilies. Tours at Blewdens are at set times throughout the day.

Tickets are available from Amber Nurseries, Cambridge Jewellers and from the website www.cgf.nz. Tickets including the tour of Blewdens Lilies are available only via the website.

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