Hundreds of Hawke’s Bay gardeners, whose gardens were devastated during Cyclone Gabrielle, have received plant donations. The initiative at Pakowhai School allowed 400 individuals to acquire free plants, sourced from various parts of the North Island.
Lauren Treagus, the organiser, remarked how gardens were left grey and lifeless due to the silt from the floods. Hoping to bring some colour back into these gardens, she initiated the donation process. Initially starting with an idea to aid a few households, the project expanded dramatically after a social media appeal.
A multitude of plants, ranging from cuttings to juvenile fruit trees, were amassed over half a year, donated from places as distant as Hamilton and Taranaki. In addition, Meeanee Firewood, a business owned by Treagus’ family, constructed planter boxes for those not yet prepared to redo their gardens.
Treagus expressed her gratitude by mentioning the joy she witnessed on the recipients’ faces, noting their appreciation and shared stories. She commended school principal Tim Race and her administrative staff, Sarah, Anne, and Rhonda, for their invaluable contributions to the event.
Among the beneficiaries was Patoka resident Sally Newall, who obtained fruit trees and essentials to set up a vegetable garden for a friend whose garden had been ruined by the floods. Newall described the heartbreak of witnessing gardens, where significant time and money had been invested, being obliterated. While there is much restoration work ahead, these plant donations signify a step towards recovery.