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Heroic Gardens Festival 2011

The Heroic Gardens Festival is Auckland’s biggest, most popular and only region-wide exhibition of privately owned gardens. Next year’s festival will be held on the weekend of 5th-6th March 2011 and will mark the 15th anniversary of this premier garden event. There will be 23 gardens on show ranging from Kumeu and Red Beach in the north to Pukekohe and Waiuku in the south, with much in between including two fabulous historic properties: Rannoch House (home of the James Wallace Sculpture collection) and the Kelliher Estate on Puketutu Island.

Heroic has developed a strong branding as a festival showcasing gardens with a difference. This is primarily a summer sub-tropical festival with strong showings of bromeliads, palms and cycads in both suburban, inner city and rural gardens. However other garden types are on display and in 2010 included organic, perennial borders, farm, orcharding and formal gardens. The fact that all gardeners involved in the event identify as gay or lesbian gives a particular nuance to the event that makes it different from all other gardening events. Additionally, in this festival the owners are also the gardeners and they are on-hand to talk to visitors throughout the weekend.

After a very successful festival partnership in March 2010, NZ Gardener magazine is again our primary sponsor and publisher of the festival programme. The programme will be published as a pull-out of the 2011 February issue of the magazine and a run-on of 5,000 copies is distributed to retailers with tickets.

This charitable event is supported by major garden retailers Kings Plant Barns and Palmers Garden World as well as a number of independent gardening and book retailers by selling tickets at no cost in the month leading up to the festival and during the festival weekend. Mitre 10 contributes through advertising within the programme.

The total foot traffic was 17,000+ in 2010. Two gardens achieved over 1200 visitors: Kevin Kilsby & Brent Scott’s garden in Mt Albert and Puketutu Island. Both gardens will again feature in 2011. An additional 6 gardens achieved visitor numbers of 900+.

VISITOR PROFILE: Overwhelmingly visitors are women aged 30+.

BENEFICARY – HOSPICES OF AUCKLAND: The gardeners have chosen the Hospices of Auckland to again be the beneficiary for 2011.  In 2010 the Festival raised $51,500 for the Hospices of Auckland and in the year prior $30,000 was donated.  Hospices provide care for people living with terminal illnesses and support their family and friends. There are nine hospices serving the greater Auckland community and over thirty hospice services nationwide; to find out more, visit www.hospice.org.nz.

FEEL GOOD FACTOR: The festival involves a huge volunteer effort from the gay and lesbian community, family and friends and hospice volunteers. The total expenditure for the event in 2010 was $1,760.

The www.heroicgardens.org.nz website will provide details of the programme and tickets can be purchased on-line at www.hospice.co.nz

To arrange interviews or obtain photos please contact: Gill Franklin ph 021 666 103 email: gfranklin@xtra.co.nz

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