Manukau Courier : February 6th 2014
www.manukaucourier.co.nz NEWS of horticulture at home was compelled to create a garden. ‘‘I was very fortunate to have a husband who supported me in my dreams – that doesn’t always happen in families. I never realised that other people would want to come and enjoy it. But suddenly there is this dimension of people who want to come and see it.’’ And people come in their droves. In one month alone Mrs McConnell says more than 1000 have visited. ‘‘The garden benefits from people who love it. I truly believe that plants benefit from being praised. ‘‘When people come here I want the worries of the world to drop off them. And the colour green is known to do that because it is gentle on the eye and relaxes so the garden is filled with green.’’ But she never set out to grow a garden for other people. ‘‘We all have gifts and you work away at your gift. You don’t grow a garden for other people, you grow it because you want to. I notice that today people are more stressed out than ever. But when they leave the garden they’re always smiling.’’ Mrs McConnell says her parents’ love of their garden inspired her and like osmosis it was passed on to her. ‘‘Your garden becomes part of you. I never take it for granted. I love the peace here and there’s nowhere else I would want to be. I love the creativeness of putting plants together.’’ But most of all, Mrs McConnell says she is longing to teach other people about gardening and pass on her wisdom. ‘‘I have the ability to pass on this knowledge and my dream is to one day have a scholarship that will allow others to learn.’’ Of all the hundreds of plants in her garden, Mrs Timeline: An aerial view of Ayrlies in 1974. Photo: SUPPLIED McConnell knows them all by name. ‘‘Some names I lose for a while and then I get them back at 2am in the morning but no-one wants to know about them then.’’ And does the ‘‘first lady of horticulture in New Zealand’’ have a favourite flower or plant? ‘‘No,’’ she says. ‘‘It’s not like marriage, you don’t have to love just one. I love them all.’’ Ayrlies at 125 Potts Rd, Whitford, is open Monday to Friday. There is an admission fee and a nursery where you can purchase plants. ❚ Visit ayrlies.co.nz for more information. Toi Aotearoa presenting sponsor MANUKAU COURIER, FEBRUARY 6, 2014 7 Calming serenity: The colour green is known to relax because it is gentle on the eye. Bev chose to include a great deal of green in her garden because she wanted the weight of the world to fall off those who came to visit. New Zealand art: Explore a summer showcase of new exhibitions and events. Edward Friström, Pohutukawa c1905 (detail), Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. See this work in Toi Aotearoa.
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