25 Oct 2018

Inspiration for the green fingered at Taranaki Garden Fest

8:24 pm on 25 October 2018

Visitors to this year's Taranaki Garden Festival are encouraged to bring a healthy appetite, an ear for music and a notepad.

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Taranaki Garden Festival manager Tetsu Garnett says edible gardens will be on display to inspire home gardeners. Photo: Robin Martin RNZ

The festival features 40 diverse gardens and attracts thousands of visitors from around the country and overseas.

Last year it pumped $5 million in new spending into the region.

Festival manager Tetsu Garnett said adding three edible landscapes to the line-up this year reflected what was going on in most keen gardener's backyards.

"People are more conscious and more aware of what they are putting in their bodies.

"We all have vegetable patches in our own gardens and having these gardens which are growing incredible things is just a little example and somewhere you can get some inspiration for what you can do in your own garden."

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Taranaki permaculture educator Dee Turner has turned her lawn into vegetable gardens. Photo: Robin Martin RNZ

Visitors to Westown gardener Dee Turner's suburban plot might just need to take notes.

The permaculture educator has transformed her oversized section into an urban food forest promising an all year harvest.

Ms Turner said she had turned it from a rose garden into a food-scape.

"When you first look down the garden, there is what looks like an orchard, but it has lots and lots of ground covers growing underneath it and these are... a support system for the trees that are growing.

"So everything the trees need is growing underneath them... and it is quite a pretty landscape as well as very productive."

Where there was once lawn, there are now beds for onion, garlic, potatoes and pumpkin, with a seven-circle mandala garden near the kitchen for salad greens.

Ms Turner said she wanted to see Kiwis ditch their lawnmowers and get more out of their gardens.

"What I show with my garden is that it's not hard and that you can create landscapes that can look after themselves.

"You don't need to be spending eight hours a week in your garden to make it look good. You could just spend and hour or two and still get loads of production."

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"Singing gardener" Rosanna Paterson promises a feast for the senses in her garden. Photo: Robin Martin RNZ

On the North Taranaki coast, Evan Ryder and the "singing gardener" Rosanna Paterson have taken advantage of the microclimate to create an impressive orchard at Pukemiro.

Over the years, they have developed a collection of subtropicals, including avocados, apples, pears, plums and "a mountain of pawpaw".

Ms Paterson said there would be plenty on site to tempt visitors' senses.

"There will be oranges and lemons and limes. We have macadamia nuts and other members of the Taranaki Land Girls and herb society and seed savers will be bringing a collection of special treats.

"So bring an appetite, but not just taste - all the senses."

An accomplished singer, Ms Paterson will perform at Pukemiro over the weekend with fiddle player Chrissie Jackson.

The Taranaki Garden Festival runs until November 4.

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