Gardens throng with visitors

TARYN UTIGER
Last updated 05:00 31/10/2012
tdn garden stand
JONATHAN CAMERON
Raymond Bradley and Dana Tomasino from Whananaki visit the Armstrong garden in Waitara

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Beautiful spring weather has helped the Taranaki Garden Spectacular get off to a flying start.

Festival manager Lisa Ekdahl said there had been a record number of people going through garden gates in Taranaki.

"It's going really well, we have had a lot of positive feedback. The visitors are happy, the gardeners are happy and ticket sales are up.

"The weather has definitely inspired people to get out and about and enjoy what Taranaki has to offer," she said.

Northland couple Raymond Bradley and Dana Tomansino travelled 7 hours yesterday to attend the festival.

"Ray loves gardens and this is a belated birthday surprise for him," said Ms Tomansino, who moved to New Zealand from America two years ago.

The couple, who were visiting the Armstrong Garden in Waitara, said they were impressed with the beauty of the gardens in Taranaki.

"This one is lovely. The pastel, pinks, blues and whites flow seamlessly together and create a delightful cottage garden," Dr Bradley said.

The couple, who live on a 120hectare property in coastal Whananaki, said they were hoping to get ideas from the garden festival.

"We are planning to turn our property into a retreat, so hopefully we can get some inspiration while in Taranaki.

"We plan to see about 20 gardens before Friday," said Ms Tomansino, who was excited about her first visit to the region.

Ms Ekdahl said 75 per cent of visitors to the festival were from out of town.

"Hotels and motels are fully booked out at the moment. This brings as much money to the province as Womad," she said.

Ms Ekdahl encouraged people to head to see the Peranakan lights at the Brooklands Lawn in Pukekura Park, which were a part of the festival.

"Pack a picnic and go there at dusk. Watching the lights come in to themselves is wonderful," she said.

Taryn Utiger is a Witt journalism student

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- Taranaki Daily News

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