'Bush Telly' wins big NZ garden show
12 Mar 2009
An evocative New Zealand country scene complete with rustic shed, bush, stream and a strong conservation theme has taken the supreme award at the country’s premier garden show.
The Ellerslie International Flower Show, which is being held in the South Island city of Christchurch for the first time, opened on Wednesday (11.03.09) with record crowds braving unseasonal cool weather to view floral displays, creative indoor and outdoor exhibits, and innovative award-winning gardens.
The show is on at Hagley Park in central Christchurch until 15 March. As exhibitors have not been allowed to dig into the Hagley Park ground, all of the thousands of plants on display are in carefully concealed pots.
Gold and Supreme awards
Bush Telly - the gold and double supreme award wining exhibit - was created by Mike Peters of Bush Telly, a Christchurch-based natural media unit of the New Zealand Ecological Restoration network.
The rustic setting, complete with decorative cowpats and clover, will become an operational film set during the five-day garden show. Interviews on conservation topics will be recorded in the Bush Telly exhibits shed, adjoining nursery and down by the stream, and footage will be released on YouTube, Google Video and DVD next month.
Judges said the Bush Telly exhibit excelled in many areas. "It evokes an emotional response, it is educational, entertaining and unique with a strong conservation message," said judging convenor Penny Cliffin.
The opening day of the show attracted 16,000 people, the largest visitor numbers for 10 years. Many spectators travelled in groups from all across the South Island to attend the event - now the largest garden show in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Ellerslie International Flower Show had been based in Auckland since its inception in 1994, but was bought by Christchurch in 2007 to further enhance its ‘garden city’ image.
Spectator feedback on opening day proved that the move south had been a positive and popular one. Fifty thousand tickets had been pre-sold for the event, and visitors said they were impressed with the standard and variety of exhibits.
While strong colour and creative design were evident, easy maintenance gardens with a strong environmental message were also well represented at the show.
All Black halfback Andy Ellis and Danny Kamo of John Marsh Landscape Architects were highly commended in the Supreme Construction award for Crate Escape, an exhibit dubbed "the ultimate bloke’s garden".
The garden used only tussock grasses, flax and New Zealand cabbage trees displaying the popularity of easy-maintenance gardens.
Kamo said: "The environment is quite a strong message that's coming through. The trend at the moment is to go with the native theme."
A team of 27 judges including designers from Australian, Britain and Japan this year awarded four exhibition gold medals.
Show highlights included a futuristic kitchen garden, a dramatic red garden designed by well known Christchurch architect Sir Miles Warren, a romantic white and yellow wedding garden Seeking Shangri-La by Peter Cheok from Singapore, On the Dark Side of the Moon a dramatic construction by Ben Hoyle, and Take Five by Carl Pickens.
Solid Energy’s Microcosms Starlight Marquee garden by Dan Rutherford, winner of the Supreme Award for Lighting, features fine shards of moonlight sparkling on a bubbling stream, punga stumps and lit toadstools.
Gates open on New Zealand's premier garden show
These topics may also be of interest to you