The Taupo Conference
The New Zealand Rhododendron Association
Conferences are an annual highlight. Alternating between all
regions of the North and the South Islands, the aim is to enjoy
the company of knowledgeable, enthusiastic people from diverse
backgrounds, together with welcoming aspiring plants people, all
keen to share and learn.
The format usually includes two or three invited keynote
speakers who present over the three days, as well as some
workshops. Most looked forward to, is the majority of time spent
visiting larger and smaller gardens in the area
In 2013 this Conference was based in Taupo in the central North
Island, not generally considered a significant horticultural
area. The numbers attending were fewer at 127, but the intimate
atmosphere and rural hospitality were notable. On the Opening
Night internationally recognised New Zealander Gordon Collier
gave an amusing address relating some of his life's experiences
centered around gardening. The Conference Dinner introduced an
Art Exhibition, all for sale, as well as an Auction of Goods
ranging from holiday weekends and ventures, to dining and
personal pampering. Sometimes this evening features a band and
dancing, or on other occasions a guest speaker.
Every Conference showcases a "bloom display," contributed by
members and local gardens, with each exhibit named.
It is the region's gardens and significant features that take
Outstanding in Taupo was Gordon Collier's pocket handkerchief
garden where his skill in planting such a wide and choice range
of plants, including trees, was amazing. A handout sheet naming
some of these specialist plants, was much appreciated. The
immaculate presentation of all properties was a joy to view.
Especially interesting was the use of the colour green by two
exclusive use of Buxus topiary in interesting patterns - much
like a chess set - together with many taller mop tops was novel
and stunning, this all set off with perfect lawns. A conducted
tour of a developing large Botanical Reserve, the work largely
done by volunteers, was eye-opening, as was the visit to a gated
community set in extensive wonderful bush reserves elevated
above Lake Taupo where the views were glorious. The delightful
floral arrangements at one of the homes was a special treat.
An add-on at the conclusion of Conference was the opportunity to
visit the famous Huka Lodge and grounds - ranked among the
The local organising committee presented a varied and most
interesting programme, greatly enjoyed by all present.
Photo courtesy of David Falconer Article by Noeline Smith
We look forward to welcoming you in October 2014 at Dunedin in
the southern South Island
For more photos of the Taupo Conference, go to the Photo Gallery or click here