In case you’ve missed the signs, this Sunday is the biennial Gardens of Fernside Tour. So I’m guessing there are some busy people in Fernside at the moment.
“A lot of the garden owners will be flat out this week” says Sarah Davidson, president of the tour’s organising committee. It’s been a tough couple of weeks for the garden owners she says, battling winds and even hail recently. But the gardens will be looking fantastic on Sunday. “The garden owners are amazing…They put in a huge amount of work and the school is so grateful”, says Sarah.
The Gardens of Fernside Tour is one of the longest running tours in the area, the first one was held in 1993. And due to this long history and the information that has been accrued over the years, the organising committee runs like a well oiled machine.
“There are around 15 of us”, says Sarah, “and everyone has their area they’re in charge of, everyone has some autonomy”. This means that for some, those that designed the tickets for example, their tasks were completed months ago. But for others, those running the school’s on site cafe on Sunday for example, this week is all go.
The major task of choosing the gardens was done over a year ago. There are eight private gardens on the tour, the youngest is just 10 years old whilst at the other end of the range one of them has been growing for 150 years. And five of them have never been featured on the tour before.
In addition, Sarah says the committee have tried to choose gardens that will leave people inspired rather than just overawed by grandeur. “We have always tried to pick gardens that are accessible, so that people can see things and think ‘i could try that at home'”.
This event is a big fundraiser for Fernside School and as well as the tour itself there are all sorts of things going on at the school on Sunday. There’s a market day with over 40 stalls, a silent auction, a plant sale at the gate. And the school is running its own cafe for the day where you’ll be able to get a taste of some homebaked yummy things, as well as sandwiches and savouries, etc.
Tickets for the garden tour cost $20 if bought in advance and you can find them at various Rangiora retailers including: Continental Bakery, Reality Bites Cafe and Cream & Clover.
They will also be available on the day for $25 from the school.
All events at the school are free to enter.