Holly Trail

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Meet the wonderful Caroline Davis!

Caroline Davis is an experienced set of hands when it comes to helping out with the Holly Trail. She started back in 2012 as a Security Convenor and for four Trails, or eight years, organised a team of dedicated volunteers to help her take care of one of the beautiful homes on the Trail. But then she started to think, what else could she do to help, and settled on her combined passion of gardening and making preserves.

In June 2020 she set to work propagating cuttings and lifting bulbs from her own beautiful Havelock North based garden. The outcome being a range of potted plants ready to sell at the Trail lunch destination of Birdwoods. That year she raised $4,300 through plant sales and raffles.

Not one to rest on her laurels, Caroline upped her goal for the next Trail in 2022. This year it was 600 plants, and she added 140 jars of home-made preserves to the list bringing in $7,900.

The goal for 2024? Caroline has set her sights high! She aims to double her preserves to 280 and increase her plants to between 750-800, with a target goal $9,000. She says all the funds she raises go to the Holly Trail, providing much needed support for Cranford Hospice.

You may ask, how does Caroline do it? The answer for anyone who knows her well, would be with “heart and love”. She carefully selects and takes cuttings from her garden. The process started back in the winter of 2023 getting the cuttings propagated and ready to pot in late 2023. The pots are recycled from local garden centres and previous Trail Homeowners when preparing their gardens.

The array of plant types include plants that began in her grandmother’s garden, such as Lily of the Valley. Cuttings were taken and grown to plant in her mother’s and auntie’s gardens, and now her daughter has it growing in her garden.

Caroline says that many other old fashioned plants such as gypsophila, dahlia and the white and lime green hydrangeas will feature.

“These classic plants which are well loved and would likely have featured in our grandparents gardens are certainly making a resurgence,” says Caroline.

She began making the preserves in January, including 17 different types of jams, jellies, relishes, marmalades and chutneys. The main ingredients come from Caroline’s tended garden, except the donated blueberries, strawberries from Strawberry Patch and figs from Te Mata Figs. They are the types that everyone loves, but are hard to come by these days. A few of Caroline’s favourites are the quince jelly, persimmon chutney, wholegrain mustard, orange marmalade (ideal for people on blood pressure medication) and plum jam.

Caroline lovingly prepares and makes all the preserves in her own kitchen, type by type, as the produce becomes available.

Ask Caroline why she goes to the lengths she does to cultivate, grow and create?

“I just love to give and help. You just never know who you are going to be helping and who might need the support of our beautiful hospice.”

Caroline will be located at one of the beautiful homes on the 2024 Holly Trail and will have a team who she calls the ‘Barrow Boys’ to lift and transport plants and preserves into cars. She says “I have a team of incredible helpers, many returning year after year… I certainly couldn’t do it on my own.”

She strongly encourages all Trailers to come and see her early to buy her plants, preserves and raffles tickets so they don’t miss out.