Central Leader : February 25th 2011
www.centralleader.co.nz Friday, February 25, 2011 extra content, extra early, extra special! online editions Essential local news available now, wherever you are...and it's FREE! Just click on "Latest Edition" at www.centralleader.co.nz Central Leader online editions have exciting extras for all our readers -- including video and back issues. Get online now for a total multi media experience with the latest local news -- anywhere, anytime. The valiant gardener Heroic gardener: Kevin Kilsby has put a huge amount of time into his garden so people can buy a ticket to view it and support the hospices of Auckland. Photo: JASON OXENHAM By KELSEY FLETCHER HEROIC GARDENS FESTIVAL PULLING weeds and prun- ing trees might be a chore to some but not for Kevin Kilsby. The ceramic artist is just one of 23 gay and lesbian gardeners who have entered their efforts for display to raise money for the hospices of Auckland during the Her- oic Festival. The festival is Auckland s biggest and most popular region-wide exhibition of pri- vately owned showcase gar- dens with a difference. The Mt Albert resident has been entering his garden in the festival for more than a decade. He says it is quite an achievement from when he first arrived. My garden started off as a walnut tree in a empty sec- tion and now it s full of colourful foliage and artwork, he says. The festival is now in its 15th year and has raised a total of $500,000 to date. The gardeners were thrilled to be able to hand over $51,500 to Auckland hospices last year. Mr Kilsby says this is the 13th year he s been a part of the festival. It has been so successful -- everyone just loves coming to see the gardens, he says. Mr Kilsby says he s had about 25,000 people through his garden in the 13 years he s been involved. We donate masses of time and money but that s not a factor I look at. Hobbies are expensive but it s something I love. I could be swinging a golfball around a course, but I d rather do something other people can enjoy, he says. Mr Kilsby says the point of difference in his garden is the artwork which has been placed carefully among the foliage. It doesn t follow a style or fashion trend. I like colour and lush foliage, there aren t box hedges and roses here. Mr Kilsby originally moved to the area for his pottery store but has to spend a massive amount of time trim- ming his plants so they don t overwhelm each other. It gives so much pleasure back when you see the garden working from home, but there is a lot of hard work involved, climbing around the back, fertilising and weeding. Mr Kilsby says the festival is something he feels good about doing even though there is so much work involved preparing and maintaining. It s something I enjoy doing and knowing the money raised goes to hospice makes it more worthwhile, he says. Mercy Hospice Auckland fundraising team leader Sandy McGregor says it is because of the philanthropy of community groups like the Heroic Gardens Festival com- mittee that the Ponsonby- based hospice can keep pro- viding its services for free. We are truly honoured and priviledged that hospices of Auckland have been chosen as the recipient char- ity of this event. To the Her- oic Garden Festival team, we salute you and thank you. The event is held from March 5 to 6 with tickets available for $30 at the gar- dens, Kings Plant Barns, Palmers Gardenworld Cen- tres and hospices. Refreshments, plants and artworks are on sale at a number of gardens and the gardeners are on hand to talk about their plots. Visit www.heroicgardens. org.nz for more information on the festival. Go to www.central leader.co.nz to see a photo gallery of Mr Kilsby's garden.
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