Totara House at Matakohe where the gardens will be on display

Garden tour is on schedule

by Paul Campbell

Fundraising for the Riverview Rest Home’s dementia unit gets a boost with tickets selling fast for the Dahlias for Dementia house and garden tour of Kaipara homes on the weekend of February 22–23, despite the dry weather.

The tour covers 20 properties and includes the home of former High Commissioner to London, Sir Lockwood Smith, and the long-established gardens at Totara House in Matakohe, home of the late Mavis Smith, who was a renowned dahlia enthusiast and show competitor. The property is now vested in The Kauri Museum.

However, the dry summer has caused anxious moments for the tour organisers. Maungaturoto’s Karen Smales who was a prime mover of the event says gardeners have been doing their best to keep gardens watered.

We all doing our best to keep plants alive and gardens in good condition,” she said. “Gardening folk, of course, are aware of conditions and are aware that it’s often a work in progress. So they appreciate ideas and can also see the progress and the potential involved.”

Tickets are $50, and are on sale at Fergus Appliances in Maungaturoto and Bayleys Real Estate in Dargaville, and also available online at

“People can take the garden tour at their own pace during the two days,” said Karen.