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Power to the flower

By Don Farmer

[email protected]

My presence on the Wairarapa Garden Tour apparently caused a few eyebrows to be raised, much to my surprise I will confess.

The raising of the eyebrows was not as a result of my attire, I was modestly dressed in an oil skin jacket to keep out the slightly annoying rain showers, a pair of red band gumboots into which I tucked my everyday trousers and a black hat with a silver fern emblazoned on it.

It was not caused either by my behaviour as I was completely sober throughout the two days, gave way graciously to other traffic as we bottle-necked at garden entrances and exits and refrained from being a know-all when people alongside loudly proclaimed a plant species to be something it was not.

No, the surprise was much more simply based.

You see I am fairly well known as being a man who chases the gee-gees and enjoys a beer or two in what could accurately described as pretty rough and ready, albeit harmless, company from time to time especially when imbibing at my favourite watering hole on a Friday night.

That, it seems rules me out as being a lover of gardens, especially of the flowering kind.

Oh, how wrong people can be.

I would never have known any of the above of course if it hadn’t been for the presence on the garden tour of a couple of people who expressed their surprise at my apparently well disguised cultural side.

One chap in particular was somewhat gobsmacked and told me so.

“I could see you perhaps as a vege gardener but flowers….”

Little did he know that I know a gerbera from a poinsettia, a marigold from a peony, a kangaroo paw from a heliconia, although I must admit I would prefer to be referred to as a stick of celery or a red hot chilli pepper than a pansy.

Anyway there was a heap of veges, including some amazing heads of broccoli to satisfy one-track minded gardeners on the tour.

I think the garden tour would be a great two days away from home for anyone, regardless of your preferences or your knowledge of what you are looking at.

That’s because you would have to be hard pressed not to appreciate those who opened their gardens to the public for a good cause, and the beauty they have managed to create in their own backyards.

Sure, this year the weather was not overly kind but it didn’t matter a jot as it really only amounted to an occasional light shower.

Underfoot was a bit trickier and that’s where the red bands came into their own.

Wairarapa has been drenched of late and the mud was thick and oozy in places along the tracks in and out of venues.

Other red band wearers would offer a grin of smug understanding, while those who decked themselves out in expensive suede footwear looked a bit sad at times – learn from it folks.

The cause, of course, was Pukaha Mt Bruce, that gem of a place tucked away just over the border in neighbouring Tararua district but which is an international attraction.

Ticket sales contributed to the Pukaha conservation cause and it’s hard to think of a better cause to be honest.

It would be remiss of me to sign off this column without mentioning those who manned the gates at each and every venue, or directed traffic.

Theirs was not the most exciting job in the world but the tour could not have worked without them, so please each of you take that as a personal pat on the back.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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