Popular tour mixes gardens, art, music

Ettrick artist Vauna Turner stands among some of the bird houses she has crafted from fruit...
Ettrick artist Vauna Turner stands among some of the bird houses she has crafted from fruit pallets which she had for sale at Art in The Garden at the weekend. PHOTO: JARED MORGAN
Billed as a garden tour that goes beyond plants and landscaping, Art in the Garden delivered.

Held every two years and organised by the Alexandra Community Arts Council, this year’s event was centered around gardens in Letts Gully Rd on Saturday and yesterday.

Alexandra Community Arts Council president Shona Bain said six gardens ranging from one where the plants needed "only what falls from the sky" in terms of watering, to the more traditional were complemented by 22 artists covering a range of artistic disciplines, and 18 music acts.

One of the artists in the "dry" garden was Ettrick woman Vauna Turner.

She classed her works as mixed media and that meant every two years she brought something different to the event.

Pottery was her main discipline but she had "branched out", she said.

This year she was offering bird houses made from timber recovered from fruit pallets.

"I’ve always been a recycler and composter and over time it’s become more fashionable.

Mrs Bain said for the first time a vineyard had been included, with the cellar at Grey Ridge Vineyard proving a popular addition to the lineup.

In the 20 years since the event began it had gained somewhat of a cult following.

"We’ve got people from Christchurch who, when they leave their motel units today, they will book again for next time."

They were joined by people from across the South Island, local people and some new to the region who wanted to see how to garden in Central Otago’s challenging conditions.

"They simply come to see what they can grow in this climate."

The aim of the event since its inception was to promote Alexandra artists and all money raised went back to them in the form of scholarships, Mrs Bain said.

More than 400 tickets had been sold on Saturday and she expected the same yesterday.

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