Thursday, December 06, 2012

Trenrose Gardens & Birdwood Gallery

Not often I'm double booked but the weekend of 17th/18th November was going to be a busy one as my friend Marie and I had a stall at Trenrose Gardens in Tikokino. Every year during the second weekend in November several established/historic gardens in the Tikokino/Onga Onga area open to the public and Trenrose opens while the peonies are in bloom.
Marie did all the hard yards arranging the booking, finding tables plus borrowing a marquee for the weekend since we would be outside. And as the 17th was my birthday and I'd been invited to lunch with the occasional stud muffin and my sister in law she offered to man it on the Saturday as well.
Of course by the time I'd fed the latest clutch of chicks, the goat, rounded up the cats and piled all my stuff in the car I was running late but when I arrived at Trenrose there weren't too many visitors so we were able to set up in peace. We didn't realize it at the time but this quiet start did not bode well for the day.
Then we were off to Birdwoods Gallery which is situated in the relocated old St Peter's Church Hall from Waipawa (my father taught Sunday School there back in the day I think) on Middle Road near Havelock North. There we saw an amazing range of African and ethnic inspired ceramics, sculptures, textiles etc. but the real highlight for me were the amazing African sculptures out the back.
There was a group of hippos nestled on the lawn while a dodo perched on the old wooden fence that bordered a wild piece of field with mown paths meandering amongst warthogs, giraffes and stone figures. A flock of topiary sheep with metal heads stood near the entrance to the sculpture garden while little metal birds were dotted about on the fences or in the trees.

By this stage the weather was cool, breezy and drizzly so we went into the cafe which was featuring an exhibition of paintings by mother and son Vicki and George Williams. Vicki paints birds and draws animals while George paints large acrylics of black labradors. Although the exhibition had only just begun ten works already had red stickers on them. By this time my sister in law had arrived so we enjoyed a leisurely lunch before investigating the nearby sweet shop (a relocated pioneer cottage) before returning to the sculpture garden once more. In total we spent three hours there which would account for my longest visit to a gallery. Ever.

When we returned to Trenrose however it was a different story. The weather had been so awful with pouring rain that visitor numbers were down three quarters on the previous year. Marie had sold a few cards for me in the morning but that was all. We packed up early hoping that the next day would improve.

When I woke up at 7am the rain was hammering down. Once again I was running late but Marie and I set up quickly and waited for the weather to improve. Then the gales arrived. The tent began to disintergrate so there were running repairs that continued throughout the day. However the sun broke out inbetween the downpours so more visitors began to come through the garden although they were more interested in buying plants than our work. However during Marie's lunch break I managed to sell one of my pendants and cards so by the end of the day we had come out of the weekend with a small profit. One of the stallholders who had been coming for nine years it was the worst year at Trenrose they'd ever experienced. I felt it was official- I was a jinx.

During one of the sunny spells in the afternoon we explored fields of flowering peonies and on the way back I bought a huge jar with two goldfish from a lady selling pickles. As you do.

As the day wound down the owner of the gardens went round every stall owner and gave us all a bunch of white peonies in bud which brightened up the house for many days. Enthusiastically I've ordered a few bushes which will be ready to plant in March so the memory of that soggy weekend will live on in my own garden.

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