Te Kainga Marire Gardens – one of more than 50 spectacular gardens in the Taranaki region. Credit: Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular.


Some of Taranaki’s most impressive gardens are about to go on show in the 30th year anniversary of the region’s Powerco Garden Spectacular

This year’s event will include painters and sculptors such as Marianne Muggeridge, Terry Stringer and others and is expected to attract visitors from all over the region.

Last year, the festival generated $2.8 million in GDP in Taranaki, including 16,130 visitor nights in accommodation and 52,491 visits to festival gardens.

The 2017 festival takes place from October 27 November 5.

It will feature 47 gardens, the Mitre 10 Frida Floral Fiesta at the White Hart Hotel and a new section highlighting art in gardens, says festival manager Leigh Gatward-Cook.

The full events calendar will include entertainment, house and garden and Chapman-Taylor tours and the Gardena garden speaker series. There is also a floral art show, a sustainable backyard event and the landscape design project.

Renown digital artist Tim Gruchy has been chosen to present this year’s design project.

His work will be projected on to the TAFT building on Brougham St each evening during the 10 day festival.

As much as 70 per cent of those attending the 2016 festival came from outside the region with several from overseas.

It’s an event where the expectations are high and considerable effort has been put into creating the best presentation possible.

“It was vital to keep the gardens up to scratch – you are not going to fly in from Sydney to see a garden that’s not outstanding. Because you have to pay, you expect the quality to be there,” says Elaine Gill who was the driving force behind the first “rhododendron festival” in 1987.

Long-time assessor Jenny Oakley, renowned for her hanging basket demonstrations, has opened up her Manaia garden for the festival since the beginning.

“I think there have been small tweaks to the festival each year to improve the visitor experience because that’s what it’s all about – we want people in Taranaki,” she says.

Hanging basket star Jenny Oakley has had her Manaia garden in the Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular for the past 30 years. Credit: Jane Dove Juneau