Spring Festival to Kick Off with Plant Sale

13 September 2010

Celebrate the end of winter and arrival of spring by taking part in entertainment and events amid the glorious flowers at Wellington's annual Spring Festival.

The two-week festival (18 September - 3 October) has plenty for everyone with over 30 events and activities. It kicks off with the Otari-Wilton's Bush open day and plant sale on Saturday 18 September and on 26 September features the ever-popular Tulip Sunday at the Botanic Garden - which fittingly coincides with the start of daylight saving.

More than 2000 native plants will be on sale at Otari-Wilton's Bush open day with something to suit every garden. One of the country's biggest and best tulip displays, as well as music, Dutch dancing and food, will be the highlights of Tulip Sunday.

This year's festival activities for kids include tree climbing, craft and storytelling sessions, a spring star show at Carter Observatory, Fairy Trina and a visit from zoo critters and their keepers. Adults get their turn too with workshops on growing your own vegetables, botanical art displays, expert guided walks and informative talks.

In a first, Spring Festival is also spreading downtown. There will be lunchtime entertainment in Grey Street and Kirkcaldie & Stains on Lambton Quay, including performances by the Wellington Ukulele Collective, urban poetry, the delightful sounds of Poppy Dust, the New Zealand School of Music Jazz Vocal Ensemble and Big Band Two, led by Rodger Fox, who will be playing at the Cable Car lookout.

The Council's Botanic Gardens Manager, David Sole, says the festival is a great opportunity for Wellingtonians to put the wet winter behind them and enjoy the Garden at its most colourful.

"As well as more than 25,000 tulips, other spring flowers including magnolias, cherries, rhododendrons and azaleas will also be blooming. It's a great turn-of-the-season celebration and the festival offers a variety of family-friendly fun activities and entertainment."

Top arborists climb to dizzying heights in a spectacular regional tree climbing competition on Saturday 2 October and the festival wraps up on Sunday 3 October with an orchid show and ukulele workshop and concert - no experience necessary, just bring your uke and enthusiasm!

Getting to the festival is easy and you can take a free ride on the Cable Car to the Botanic Garden between midday and 2pm by presenting the coupon from the festival brochure.

Most events are free, though some have a small charge, and bookings are required in some cases. Full details are available online or in the new-look brochures available from the Botanic Garden, libraries and other City Council outlets or by phoning 499 4444.