Shows go on despite rain

19:38, Nov 04 2012
Bob Morrison
TREE FELLAS: Bob Morrison, of Gore Wood Workers, has the ideal assistant for those who like company in the garden but no back chat.

That hoary old cliche that rain didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the day does sometimes have its place in the sun.

Especially given our current dynamic weather, delivering four seasons in one day, and all the more dramatic for the beauty of new spring growth bringing colour back to the landscape.

But southern garden enthusiasts demonstrate their stoicism by rugging up in polar fleece, padded jackets and stout boots, and just get on with it.

Several recent events confirm this.

First came the spring Eco Fest, where just getting indoors from the car park was a challenge for anyone arriving in the teeth of the series of vicious storms. Indoors was like a chiller, more suited to seed saving than discussions of how to get growing.

Then the launch of the Southland Gardens to Visit website on Friday at Veronica and Huon Love's Jindah Park, where umbrellas and gumboots featured as best-dressed gear.


Those who had come under-prepared and willing to accept a voluminous disposable hooded white plastic mac presented an odd sight flitting through the shrubberies as strange pixies or members of a new Franciscan order perhaps.

Sunday's Rhododendron Festival in Gore Gardens seemed destined for the same fate, but then the fickle weather gods relented slightly in the frequency and intensity of the passing storms.

The organisers, who must have been sighing at missing the idyllic weather of the previous Sunday, can be truly grateful as the squalls held off for eight critical hours.

In launching the website, Gore Deputy Mayor Cliff Bolger, a self-confessed non-gardener, nevertheless acknowledged gardening as an important part of southern culture. He could equally have added the dramatic unreliability of our weather.

Or the generosity of southerners willing to share their passion and talents, and indeed all those involved in creating and maintaining our beautiful public parks.

The Rhododendron Festival must be the largest garden-focused event in Southland - if there is anything similar we have missed, please let us know. Story suggestions or feedback on this page are welcome at

The Southland Times