22 Nov, 2021
Undeterred by a stormy sky and heavy rain, determined lovers of plants and landscapes still managed to get around the 17 homes featured in Mangawhai’s 19th annual Garden Ramble.
Decked out in raincoats and gumboots and guided by the essential ‘passport booklet’, ramblers roamed the wet streets from Kaiwaka to the Heads, out to Kings Road and Hakaru, to view gardens which ranged from the charmingly old-fashioned, fragrant with wild roses, to the manicured with precison-planting, clipped lawns and technically-designed landscape.
Ramble coordinator John Dickie (pictured) says from all feedback received his impression is the event was very successful, despite difficulties involving Covid and the wet weather.
“Ramblers seemed very pleased and I understand the gardeners had good attendances,” he says. “While a couple of things still need to be checked it looks like there were more than 350 tickets sold, with a profit of at least $13,500 - a result that far exceeded my expectation and not that far away from the $16,000 of 2020. A great thanks to all garden owners, without you there could be no Ramble.”
Supported by new sponsors Wyatt Landscape Supplies and The Real Team Real Estate, all Ramble proceeds go directly towards Mangawhai Kindergarten to help make the centre a better place for the kindy kids. Money from the 2020 event went into developing the kindergarten gardens for the children and plans for this year include finishing off a kids carpentry shed to try their hand at woodcraft, head teacher Miranda Manwaring says.
“We’ve been so humbled by the community support, especially this year with Covid and the level changes, there’s been a lot going on and the community really came together for us, opening up gardens in this climate can be a scary thing to do,” she says. “We had a couple of prime sponsors come on board and everyone including our families were very positive, helpful and keen to be involved.”
Despite the ‘ridiculous weather, it was sunny up to the Ramble and hasn’t rained since’, Manwaring says the event did really well even with potential dedicated ramblers across the southern border locked out, ‘people seemed to be more free time-wise with Auckland’s border closed, it was more of a local community event’.
The Ramble also inspired other spin-off enterprises at the various gardens such as markets and raffles inlcuding innovative Rodney College senior students, Brody Hayman and Cayene Odi displaying their creation ‘Tuff Cuffs’, protective sleeves to protect gardeners arms from prickly plants, ‘which I’d like to see continue, make the Ramble not just about the Kindy having an event but have everyone able to benefit’.
With John Dickie’s eminent departure next year for a life in India with wife Rita, Manwaring says the enthusiastic co-ordinator to whom ‘nothing is too much trouble’, will be sorely missed.
“He comes into the kindy now and then to do stuff with the kids, and shares his equipment that he bought with a Factory grant for them to use, John’s wonderful with them,” she says. “It’ll be a real loss when he leaves, don’t know what we’re going to do next year without him, John’s done so much for this area, he’s such an amazing community man.”
n Interested in being involved with organising the 2022 Garden Ramble and being part of a garden finding and selection group? Contact John Dickie or Miranda Manwaring via the Mangawhai Garden Ramble facebook page.