Column: 50 shades of green lineup at Nelmac Garden Marlborough 2017

The garden of Carolyn Ferraby at Barewood is one of properties you can visit on a Nelmac Garden Marlborough tour.

The garden of Carolyn Ferraby at Barewood is one of properties you can visit on a Nelmac Garden Marlborough tour.

COLUMN: When gardeners get together talk invariably turns to gardens at some point in the conversation.

That seems to be true if it is a casual conversation over coffee or an occasion like the launch of the 2017 Nelmac Garden Marlborough programme - which, at its heart, is an event comprising a myriad of conversations about gardens, plants and other garden-related topics.

The great thing about Nelmac Garden Marlborough is that a lot of the conversationalists are experts in their respective fields. I cannot think of a single workshop I have attended that I have not come away with some new gem of information to take home and put into practice. As for the tours, unlike sneaking a peek over the fence at that fabulous garden you might walk past every day, on a tour you are invited in and your curiosity is encouraged, as are your questions.

The time and effort that goes into getting these gardens ready for public viewing will be intensive - and I am sure there are a few tales of last-minute crises beneath the smiles of each garden's hosts. This must surely be the case too, for those who enter their gardens in the annual best garden awards.

I am forever indulging in 'garden gossip' and many ideas inspired by these conversations from my daily life find their way into my garden. I can attribute some inspirations, however, directly to a workshop or garden tour - the compost bins, the way I mulch the vegetable garden, my fruit tree pruning methods and even the lavender lip balm I keep by the bed are just some such examples.

The fun thing is the people you attend this event with are kindred spirits, at least for the day.

As I said, the event is made up of a myriad of conversations. Of course, many of these conversations have been taking place behind the scenes for months already as the event's committee, staff and volunteers organise the programme for the coming event. While Nelmac Garden Marlborough is in November, now is the time to check out the recently-launched programme and start planning what you want to attend.

The programme launch was a chance to catch up with like-minded people. I was pleasantly distracted from conversation, however, by the decorations. I had been standing beside a 'floral' arrangement for a few minutes before I looked closely at it and realised there were no flowers involved - at least not in the traditional sense. There may not have been quite 50 shades of green (the theme of this year's event) in this creation but it was many shades of interesting and while it was a clever concoction of edibles, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kiwifruit, silver beet and even leek, it looked way too good to eat.

My floral and foliar arrangement skills are passable, thanks to a workshop or two, but I'm still nowhere near the league required for something this creative. It earned a big (green, of course) thumbs up from me.

See the 2017 Nelmac Garden Marlborough event programme:

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 - The Marlborough Express

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