It’s that time of year again… As we put winter to bed, Marlborough blossoms with longer daylight hours and warmer weather and we say a joyous hello to Spring!
As a region, we also find another way to revel in Marlborough’s stunning landscape, with the welcome return of Nelmac Garden Marlborough, New Zealand’s premier garden festival; a weekend of tours, parties, workshops and the ever popular, Stihl Shop Garden Fete.
With the festival comes an opportunity for locals and visitors alike to take a peek behind the garden fence of some of Marlborough’s most unique and sensational gardens. One of those featuring as part of the East Coast & Awatere Valley Garden Tour, is Barewood; a lovingly created idyll, that roams across three acres, the home patch to Carolyn and Joe Ferraby.
Carolyn, who has lived in Marlborough her entire life, took up gardening some thirty-five years ago at the suggestion of her mother-in-law. With a background in floristry, Carolyn has, over time, created the largest and most impressive arrangement of her career, Barewood. The garden was formally recognised as a Garden of National Significance by the New Zealand’s Garden Trust eight years ago and awarded five stars. Those five sparkling accolades give Barewood equal standing with the Government House Garden and the Botanic Gardens in Wellington.
The long, hot, dry summers in the Awatere Valley have certainly presented a few challenges in the shaping of the Ferraby’s labour of love but Carolyn says she learned through a measure of disappointment and some plant casualties, what would flourish and what would not in the often harsh climate. She says, “The soil in the Awatere is compacted clay and it took lots of hard work for a number of years to create soil that would grow the special plants I wanted to.” Her toil has been rewarded, however, and Barewood’s lush plantings feature Malus, Wisteria, Clematis, Viburnums, Philiadelphus, Deutzia, Sambuscus, flowering shrubs, old fashioned roses, irises and other scented and aromatic flowers and foliage.
Asked what she most loves about spring in the garden, Caroline will tell you, “This is my favourite season. Year after year I never tire of the different hues of green unfolding on the trees and shrubs, and the first spring bulbs, popping their heads above the soil.” She offers one piece of advice for Marlborough gardeners at this time of year… “Feed everything with blood and bone and mulch before the first flush of weeds take hold.”
A long standing participant in Nelmac Garden Marlborough, Carolyn believes it has grown into such an outstanding event because it is organised and run by gardeners for gardeners. She adds that the mass of volunteers who do such a wonderful job making sure that everyone is well looked after, are a vital ingredient in the festival’s recipe for success.
As part of Nelmac Garden Marlborough, Bayleys Marlborough are proud sponsors of the Bayleys Garden Awards, designed to celebrate the beautiful gardens we see every day. Carolyn affirms that this important aspect of the festival recognises the influence of a garden in helping to showcase the buildings that are an important part of our community landscape, whether they are commercial or private. They all play a part in the spring quilt that colours our wonderful region at this time of year. From now, until 24th Ovtober, you can nominate yourself, your neighbour, your street or your retirement village’s garden for a Bayleys Garden Award; because there is nothing quite like recognition and reward to brighten a person’s already spectacular spring day!
Voting Categories include:
- Best Seniors Garden Award (70+yrs)
- Best Retirement Village / Rest Home
- Best Commercial Frontage
- Best Hospitality Frontage
- Best Presented Street
- Best Civic space
Download the nomination form HERE.
Nelmac Garden Marlborough, New Zealand’s Premier Garden Event takes place between 3rd – 6th November, 2016. Visit the Nelmac Garden Marlborough website for more information and tickets.