Fifty shades of green in the gar­den

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - GARDENING -

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 am­sure 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 am­for­ever 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 like­minded 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.

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: gar­den­marl­bor­ough.co.nz

PHOTO: STUFF

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

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