Heroic Gardeners have done it again. Gay and lesbian gardeners celebrated what was a truly WOW event and handed over a whopping $51,500 to the Hospices of Auckland. The function hosted at Mercy Hospice brought together the gardeners and the many volunteers who contributed to make Heroic Gardens Festival 2010 a success.
The 14th Heroic Gardens Festival included 32 urban and rural gardens from Whangaparaoa to Waiuku and involved over 50 gardeners to showcase the creativity and hard work of the Auckland region’s Gay and Lesbian gardeners.
A foot traffic count of over 17,000 was recorded for the two day event at the beginning of March. Two gardens recorded close to 1300 visitors each and another 6 gardens received 900 or more visitors.
The Festival entailed a huge contribution of volunteer time and effort. This is possibly the only and certainly the biggest festival worldwide to feature gay and lesbian gardeners and their gardens. It is also now the only region wide garden festival that occurs within the Auckland region. As chairperson Gill Franklin said, “No one else is crazy enough to attempt it, especially with a total expenditure of $2,043.78. Not all the gardens are sub-tropical extravaganzas, though many do fit this description. The festival also included the quirky, the different, the formal and the organic side to gardening”.
The support of NZ Gardener magazine in publishing the 2010 programme and providing feature articles on two gardens was much appreciated. “Many thanks to Linda Hallinan for believing in our bankability” Gill Franklin said. “As a result of everyone efforts, including the support of Auckland media and the many garden shops who sold the tickets without charge, this year’s event has been a great success. Whilst the $30 two-day ticket price was maintained from previous years, the number of people through the gates increased by 57% from last year and an incredible increase of 71% was made in the amount handed over to the Auckland hospices”.
This is a big festival but it is also about the personal and the particular. Unlike many festivals, the gardeners are on-hand to meet and talk with visitors. Because of the nature and style of the festival, many visitors are drawn to share very personal stories and memories, and wonderful letters of gratitude turn up in our mailboxes after the event.
The 2010 donation to Auckland hospices of $51,500 brings to over half a million the total amount raised by Heroic Gardens for charities over the last 14 years.