Built in 1909, Villa Isla Bank highlights the historical architecture of the time. Photo / Bayleys Realty Group
The highly popular and highly anticipated Altrusa Home and Garden Ramble is ready to go. This year, 11 stunning homes and gardens were on display and are set to amaze the audience with their uniqueness and uniqueness.
This is Altrusa International for Te Awamutu’s #27 house and garden in the Ramble. These events are a community staple and Altrusa’s largest fundraiser of the year.
Start time is 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, November 6th.
Bracelets must be worn at all times and on all properties as proof of purchase. Tickets are available from the Te Awamutu i-Site Visitor Information Center or Campbell Lane for $30. Tickets include a program with home addresses.
Altrusa raises funds and performs practical services for local causes and groups. This year, Garden Ramble proceeds will go to Billy Graham Boxing Academy, Life Education Trust and Citizens Advice Bureau.
The first house is owned by Jane Yates and Keith Hetherington.
Jane’s parents, Donald and Diana Yates, from Aruhina, built this home for their retirement. The house was designed by David Delamere of Auckland and built by Colin Downs in 2004.
Unfortunately, Jane’s parents passed away, and the property grew into a heritage property dedicated to them.
“I tried to complete what I thought they were going to want,” Jane says. “My mother was passionate about wildlife and this garden – so I tried to do the same, and did a tremendous amount of farming.”
The park evolved around a focus on painting in nature and native birds. The plants are mostly native, with over 200 different species present. The garden is formalized and structured using many hedges, ornamental deciduous plants, and wide lawns. Jill Tim, a local gardener, takes care of the property once a week and has been involved in its maintenance for over 10 years.
“We try to make the bush area as natural as possible, to bring in insects which in turn attract bird life,” Jane says.
Some of the birds that have made visits include the kākā, the wood pigeon (kererū), and the morepork (ruru), there are permanent residents of the tui, the gray warbler, and the silvereye frequently seen in the smaller water feature. Frogs are also present, and love to jump in the pond.
The main water feature is not only the focal point of the park, but also a great playground for children to visit. The water feature was designed by Gary Bjerring, designer and director of Wild Exposure Ltd in Ōhaupō.
The garden has raised plant beds, with apples, pears, and many other types of citrus and fruits as well.
When people visit their property, the owners hope that people will appreciate the ecosystem in their backyard.
The featured ninth house is an old villa owned by Graeme Blackstock and Jayne Bently. The couple are the third owner of the house, which is rare for a building over a hundred years old.
“I could remember as a kid growing up in Te Awamutu seeing this property and wondering who lived there,” Graeme recalls.
Originally built by the Quinn family in 1909, this villa is named Isla Bank after the Scottish region from which the family came.
The property was listed as a Historic Place (Category 2) in 1985. This means that this home is officially recognized as a Place of Historical or Cultural Interest or Value.
The Quinn family lived on the site until 2001, after which it was carefully renovated to retain its character and historical features.
When you visit this house, you will feel as if you are stepping into history. A tree-lined walkway leads to the four-acre property, with many large English trees on the scenic grounds.
Before his retirement, Graeme planted kiwi fruit in Katikati.
“I had more space there to take care of at the time, but yeah, you have to spend some time maintaining the property. It’s not as awful as you think – maybe some people spend as much time looking after a 500 square meter as I spend here.”
Graeme jokes that he gets help in lawns from his two robotic lawn mowers, “which can sometimes be good, sometimes not so good—when you get stuck in the rabbit holes.”
The entryway sets the tone for the rich matai flooring and original wood trim.
In the living room, there is a wood stove in the original brick fireplace. There is also an old telephone and a mini rendering window.
“It’s a neat home to live in, and every room has a different feel to it,” says Graeme. “Having lived here for nearly four years, I still enjoy coming home after moving out.”
Also on this property is a collection of classic cars and motorbikes to see. One of the cars in his collection is a 1924 Morris Cowley, a car that Graeme described as the “1924 Toyota Corolla.”
Altrusa thanks all the home and garden owners for all the work that went into preparing to be a part of the Rumble and for their generosity in opening their homes to everyone.
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