The Fountain of Youth

Insider's Guide to the Festival
with Liz French

I'd be kidding myself to think I was still drinking from the fountain of youth. For goodness sake I've recently become a ‘pensioner'.

I used my Gold Card to get a discount off a new pair of running shoes.  

It may be my advancing years but I am increasingly in awe of what young people achieve.

We've got an amazing amount of young talent in this region including designers (of fashion, furniture, home wares), musicians, sports people, artists, photographers and gardeners.

I was not interested in gardening in my youth, horses were my obsession.

We had huge farm grounds in the Manawatu with an expanse of vegetable garden where my mother wrought a constant battle with oxalis.

She was also a great flower gardener. As a teenager I could never understand the appeal of walking around the garden with her friends before they retired to the sitting room for a Pimms.

Now I can understand both – especially the Pimms!

I never really grew into gardening – blame careers and competing interests – which makes me even more impressed with the young gardeners involved in the NZ Garden & Art Festival.

Like Amy Bowkett, a young mother who has created, from scratch, around her new home, a colourful garden full of flowers. She acknowledges the help of garden mentors who supplied her with a month by month manual for the garden and she writes about her progress on

The Garden Trail and the many other exhibitors in the festival, including gardens by school children, inspire confidence the future of gardening is in excellent hands.

Amy Bowkett's flower garden.


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