Auckland’s bi-annual Garden DesignFest is on next month from 16-17 November, and it is a wonderful opportunity to spend a weekend garden-hopping and viewing some of the best garden design talent NZ has to offer.

Joint Chairperson of the Auckland Garden DesignFest, Debbie Hardy, is looking forward to everything the event has to offer and is proud of the gardens the designers have created.

“This year we have 18 designers, seven of which have never featured before in the DesignFest and they are all bringing new and exciting designs to the event.”

The DesignFest is a joint effort of Paul Monk from Rotary Newmarket, and the Garden Design Society of New Zealand. Planning for the event begins at least one year in advance, and Debbie is involved with just about every aspect of the organising the event, including being one of the exhibiting designers this year.

“We created the event so that designers could have a platform to profile and exhibit their craft. There are other garden shows and events in in New Zealand, however, the exhibits for these are mostly temporary and aren’t as sustainable. With the Auckland Garden DesignFest the gardens are not only sustainable, they are some of the designers’ very own backyards,” says Debbie.

“We have a diverse range of gardens; large, small, sub-tropical, native gardens, productive edible gardens and many more.”

The designers will be in the gardens they have created for the whole weekend. Guests can meet the designers and ask questions. Geographically, the gardens are close together, so it is easy to get around over the weekend.

“The great thing about being able to visit all these gardens over the weekend is that you can view all sorts of styles and creations. We want people to see the gardens and think ‘my backyard could look like this, or, I could do that with my garden too’, and they don’t necessarily need a massive budget or fancy tools,” says Debbie.

Two designers involved this year are Xanthe White – her design studio has two gardens featuring in this year’s festival – and Dan McKay from Ministry of Ground, who is an ambassador for Garden to Table and features on TVNZ’s HOMEmade television show.

One of the major trends Debbie has seen this year is the concept of outdoor living.

“People are creating an outdoor room in the garden, with permanent roof structures, and outdoor lounges which provide good shelter from the weather,” says Debbie.

An important aspect of the Auckland Garden DesignFest is the charitable component of the event.

The three charities that benefit are Ronald McDonald House Charities New Zealand, Garden to Table and Rotary Newmarket Charitable Trust. All three charities support children, and this is something that was important to both the event organisers and the garden designers.

Tickets for the event can be purchased on iTicket here and at Kings Plant Barn, there is a special seniors price for 65+ and optional guided bus tours are available. For more information on the event please visit the Auckland Garden DesignFest website, or a 12-page printed programme is available at Auckland Kings Plan Barn stores.