Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Happy 60th Ayrlies Garden

Welcome to paradise, said Jacqueline McConnell as we stepped into the annual Ayrlies Garden Fair. Little did we realise then that we had truly entered paradise, that has been 60 years in the making by the visionary and gardener extraordinaire, Beverley McConnell.

Walking through the meandering pathways, bubbling brooks, lush gardens punctuated with breathtaking views and lookout points, makes one realise that a twenty-minute ride from Howick to this serene sanctuary is just what the doctor ordered. It’s the elixir of life that we’ve all been looking for.

As you soak in the serenity and tranquil environs that help you unwind, you notice the lineup of specialist plant growers who’ve arrived from different parts of country to be a part of the annual fair. They are selling rare, top-quality plants.

Jacqueline McConnell, daughter of the first lady of horticulture who has put east Auckland on the world map (by magically transforming bare paddocks to 16 acres of Ayrlies Garden with 36 acres of wetlands) says they couldn’t have organised the two-day fair without the help of dedicated volunteers.

The serious plant buyers made their way on Friday morning despite the rain, while other visitors found the perfect weather on the following day, with lots of sunshine and sheer beauty of nature to bask in.

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