Rambling on through flora and fauna
WORDS & PHOTOS BY JULIA WADE
Serene native forests and sky-scraping trees, peaceful grassy lawns, brilliant blooms and green-leafed ponds inspired plant lovers and wanderers of all ages to pause and linger recently, while visiting some of Mangawhai’s most spectacular private gardens.
Frogs, chickens, eels and even a crocodile had cameo roles during the 2019 Mangawhai Garden Ramble (MGR) on November 16-17, the annual fundraising event a sellout success with 500 tickets quickly scooped up, raising around $14,500 for the areas youngest residents who attend Mangawhai’s kindergarten and playgroup. Ranging from rural acres of mowed lawn, rambling trails, orchards, native trees and fishfilled ponds, to suburban landscapes, exotic tropical plants, colourful flower beds and multi-media sculptures, ramblers had ‘17 amazing gardens’ to roam over, said Mangawhai Kindergarten head teacher and Ramble coordinator Miranda Manwaring.
“Mangawhai has a lot of hidden treasures... the gardeners felt it was a really positive atmosphere with many people enjoying the gardens and asking lots of questions,” she says. “Thank you to all the gardeners for opening up your beautiful gardens for us to ramble through, we actually sold out of tickets so a lot of people missed out which was a shame.” For the past 17 years the Ramble has been organised and run by Mangawhai Playgroup and Kindergarten and, besides all the weeding, planning and planting from gardeners to get their properties ready in time, Garden Ramble committee members as well as parents of the two pre-school groups dedicate hours of work to make the event possible.
“It is an ambitious project,” Manwaring says. “All the baking was supplied by families and the community to sell at the two food stalls, which were also run by rostered shifts of volunteers.” For Mangawhai Playgroup, funds from the Ramble will go towards maintenance of the Rose Madsen Cottage, where children attend their early childcare group, Te Puna teacher Caren Davis says. “We’re going to do some improvements to the building, improve the existing playground and plant a garden bed… make it more healthy and inviting for the children and caregivers.”
The Ramble makes a ‘huge difference’ to what the kindergarten is able to offer the 60 registered families Manwaring says, and money raised this year will actually help the kindergarten cultivate a plot of their own, transforming the front play space into an ‘eatable garden’. “It is a wonderful community event, all the children attending the kindy will benefit directly from this fundraiser,” she says. “We are always blown away by the generosity of Mangawhai community’s support of us.”
MGR would like to say a big thank you to everyone for their support for making this past weekend possible, including primary sponsor Palmers Planet, local retailers and businesses for selling tickets and helping with advertising, donating to the refreshments stands and all volunteers for their time, energy and dedication.
n For details visit Mangawhai Kindergarten on facebook.