February 27, 2014
The low ceiling of morning clouds burned off to a brilliant blue sky by late afternoon. Perfect for visiting the city’s botanic gardens. Although by late February most of the display gardens are a bit past, it is still an impressive show of just what plants can do in a hospitable growing environment – enormous trees from around the word, glorious hydrangea, rose and dahlia gardens – the dahlias were still looking quite showy – the jungle like atmosphere of the O Tane Aotearoa grove with superb specimens of tree ferns, and the herb and vegetable garden with a wide variety of offerings from cool weather peas to warmer weather tomatillos.
The annual event which has been cancelled for 2015 (see article) is more a flower infused home and garden show than a pure plant event. It includes everything from a flower-costume fashion show, can construction competition and cooking demonstrations to your more typical garden displays and floral arrangement as well as an extensive area of vendor booths.
We discovered smoked garlic, an exercise machine that vibrates while you exercise– reminiscent of the of the old vibrating belt machines – which supposedly burns more calories in the same amount of time than doing standard gym exercise, and a $40 super thick ironing board cover with a reflective coating that allows you to iron both sides of a garment at the same time.
While short on garden displays for my tastes, some of the winners were simply outstanding. One in particular was an incredible variety of pink blooming flowers surrounding a comfortable blue chair. At the other end of the spectrum were architectural displays contrasting tall grasses with hard man-made surfaces.