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Serene … Festival-goers will be able to take in the delights of the Amberley House garden. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

By ROBYN BRISTOW

Garden lovers have just a few weeks to wait until the 2019 Hurunui Garden Festival on Friday, November 1.

Final preparations are in full swing as garden owners mow lawns, trim hedges, deadhead plants, sweep paths and remain on the lookout for weeds.

This year, even more garden owners are busy ensuring their gardens are in top condition for the festival.

Festival Secretary Anita Todd says, in addition to the return of many of last year’s favourite gardens, six new gardens are open to visitors this year.

“We’re delighted to expand the festival to include farm homestead gardens The Willows and Palmside in Culverden, and Carvossa in Waikari, the Geen Garden in Hanmer Springs, Black Rock, a remote high country station garden in the Kaiwara Valley, and the Hurunui Natives Plant Nursery garden in Cheviot,” Anita says.

“With 23 gardens, small and large, old and new, town and country, there’s a garden for everyone.”

Stunning Waikari setting … Carvossa is among the gardens set to impress visitors. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

The gardens are arranged in seven clusters to make it easy to visit several gardens conveniently located within a short drive of each other. That means visitors spend more time enjoying the gardens and less time driving.

The festival guide and website includes cluster maps showing the location of each garden and the amenities, such as toilets and food outlets, in the area.

Anita says there are events being held in many gardens this year.

“Six gardens are hosting exhibitions of paintings, photography, wire art and even a Christmas grotto – all at no extra cost.

“Several gardens have stalls selling refreshments, plants and garden accessories. Each day there are talks and demonstrations, some free and some for a fee.

“All the events are listed in our guide and on our website.”

Hidden gem … Black Rock with its rare and unusual perennials. Photo: Supplied

Todd says the festival is committed to ensuring there are gardens for all ages of visitors and their friends, including the four-legged variety.

This year the guide includes a list of gardens with play areas for children, gardens where visitors can take their own picnic lunch, and gardens that welcome dogs on a lead.

These five gardens welcome you to bring your dog and your picnic lunch: Amberley House and Lindfield (Amberley cluster), Carvossa (Hawarden-Waikari), Black Rock (Cheviot), and Highgate(Hanmer Springs).

“We want people to get the maximum enjoyment out of their visit to our gardens, which is why we’re making it easy for people to select the most suitable gardens for them, their families and friends to visit.”

Admission to each garden costs $10 per adult, with children under 18 accompanied by adults admitted for free. Descriptions of all the gardens, the tours, an events calendar and ticket sales are on online at hurunuigardenfestival.com.