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NZ travel: How to boost body and soul in Matakana

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More than flowers, Slow Blooms in Matakana is also about wellness and sustainability. Photo / supplied.

INSIDER’S GUIDE TO… SLOW BLOOMS MATAKANA

At Slow Blooms in Matakana, flower fans can wander the garden, take floral workshops and craft their own bouquets. Owner Rebecka Keeling shares why gardening is far more than pretty posies, and what makes Matakana a great place to visit.

Slow Blooms is a special garden because visitors can pick their own flowers and herbs. People are welcome to stroll through the rows of blooms, borrow snips and a basket or bucket from the shed, and cut their own bouquet.

I founded Slow Blooms after drawing inspiration from similar gardens in my native Sweden. I’m passionate about sharing sustainable herbs and blooms, grown with care for nature and people, reflecting the seasonality of our local area.

The name Slow Blooms is a play on the Slow Foods and Slow Flowers movement, which champions produce grown locally, in their natural season, using sustainable practices. As opposed to flowers grown with the use of harsh chemicals and pesticides, flown in from greenhouses overseas.

Slow Blooms is about letting good things take time. It’s going for a mindful stroll, picking the blooms you love, and supporting a small local business, as opposed to grabbing a plastic-wrapped bunch in the supermarket. People seem to appreciate that when you pick the flowers yourself, you infuse them with your own thought and meaning. It doesn’t matter if the bouquet is not as polished as a professionally arranged one.

Slow Blooms owner Rebecka Keeling used gardens in her native Sweden as inspiration for her Matakana business.  Photo / Secretgardens.co.nz
Slow Blooms owner Rebecka Keeling used gardens in her native Sweden as inspiration for her Matakana business. Photo / Secretgardens.co.nz

We also get amazing feedback on our guided garden tours and Flower Haven Workshops, (see secretgardens.co.nz), where we teach how to grow, harvest and compose our bouquets.

When it comes to other activities in Matakana, you can’t miss the Village Farmers Market. It’s the one market that only allows fresh and local produce. We sell our flowers there on Saturday mornings and love the community spirit and the lovely visitors.

At Slow Blooms, visitors are encouraged to create their own bouquet.  Photo / supplied.
At Slow Blooms, visitors are encouraged to create their own bouquet. Photo / supplied.

Another special experience is Beetopia, where visitors can learn all about why pollinators are so important, and the team is extremely knowledgeable and excited about all things bees.

A Mystery Picnic, where guests are given a map to gather artisan products, is a great way of getting the most out of a day around Matakana. After lunch, stop by Charlies Gelato for award-winning icecream and local produce. Nearby at beautiful Tāwharanui Beach and kiwi sanctuary, we love the evening kiwi-watching experience with Kiwiness Tours.

In Matakana, we’re also lucky to have an amazing yoga and pilates studio called The Space; their classes are a great way to look after body and mind. While you’re on Sharp Rd, grab a bite to eat from Ravish, some top-quality fish from Matakana Smokehouse, and do a wine-tasting at Heron’s Flight vineyard.

At Slow Blooms, we will soon start to change our market stall offerings as fresh flowers become less bountiful through winter. We’ll be moving towards more green and structural bouquets, dried flowers, and planted-up terracotta pots to grow your own produce on your windowsill. We will also be working with the Protea Patch nursery just down the road, to offer some lovely proteas in our bunches through winter. Keeping it colorful while still keeping it local!

For details, see slowblooms.com

For more travel inspiration, go to newzealand.com/nz.

Check traffic light settings and Ministry of Health advice before travel at covid19.govt.nz

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