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ELLERSLIE INTERNATIONALFLOWER SHOWwritten by Sandra Batley - FlourishEvery year for five days in November the AucklandRegional Botanic Garden in Manukau City is home to theSouthern hemispheres largest horticultural event. Nestledwithin the surrounding native bush, the grounds aretransformed to showcase stunning show gardens,colourful plant displays and exhibits.and Botanic gardens staff, pull together to get the siteready for another successful event. This year the muchawaitedshow delivered a bold and colourful horticulturaldisplay of plants and gardens. It is the perfect platform fordesigners to showcase their ideas and talent and for thepublic to be inspired.It is an extremely popular event, attracting huge interestfrom garden enthusiasts and non-green thumb peoplealike. It has been held annually at the Botanic gardenssince 1998 with around 65,000 visitors attending the showagain this year. Almost half of the visitors come fromoutside the greater Auckland area to see the show. Nextyear the flower show is moving south. It has found a newhome in Hagley Park, Christchurch. The move as beenconfirmed by the show’s organizers, possibly opening theway for a new rival iconic garden show here inAuckland… watch this space.During the weeks leading up to the show there is aintense flurry of work. Contractors, designers, flower showThe Flower shows Sponsor Visique commissionedMichael Mansvelt of Plantation, Taranaki, to design theiroutdoor exhibition garden. This Martini Modernist gardenfeatured strong lines and geometric forms. Bold softtropical plantings complimented the large colourful shadesails for shade from the sun. An ornamental pool of wateradded an effective, relaxing element to the garden. It wasawarded Silver.This year a number of exhibits highlighted environmentalissues, cleverly designing gardens to provide solutionssuch as the ARC sponsored Rain garden. Thiscontemporary garden designed by 3 Unitec studentsARC Rain GardenPalmco Jungle Gardencontinued...

picked up a Gold for their efforts. The aim was to takeadvantage of Auckland’s rain and help solve our stormwater problem by demonstrating how a residential raingarden can play a role in protecting our environment.There were a number of new highlights again this year.Ellerslie Flower show was delighted to introduce theworlds first Visique Starlight Marquee. This marquee iscompletely blacked out with hundreds of meters of blacksilk to create a backdrop for dazzling lighting effects andartistic garden design. A garden inspired by ananonymous poem given to Julie Moore, created to evokeemotion with an environmental message, was the EarthSharing Garden designed by Plantet Earth and Fusionlandscape design. A stand out garden that won PeoplesChoice, as well as Supreme Lighting award and Gold.Visitors experienced a sensory explosion featuringwaterfalls, atmospheric lighting effects, glow worm grottos,sounds of nature and an amazing beating heart in a giantrevolving world globe.This year, UK landscape designer Sarah Eberle, a winnerof numerous RHS Gold Medals, was invited to design agarden specifically for the show. She designed asculptural landscape combining natural and man-madematerials with a mix of exotic and indigenous plants.This garden was third in a trilogy of work she has createdin the UK for the Chelsea Flower Show.The culmination of weeks of intensive work andmeticulous planning paid off for many first time exhibitors.Palmco, a Palm nursery from KeriKeri in the far northpicked up the Judges supreme award as well as theSupreme construction award for their retail JungleGarden. A team of dedicated staff worked round the clockto display the 58 full-sized varieties of palms and nativesto create a modern South Pacific garden. The palms werecarefully transported down and replanted in just 3 days.Under the palms were 7,000 plant,s all carefully planted totransform the 20m x 10m site into a tranquil slice ofparadise. 40m3 of soil was trucked in to shape and plantthe garden. A curveous, winding board walk lead visitorson a journey under and through the lush, green canopy.Their aim with the garden is to educate the public on newways to utilize palms within the landscapeAs well as show gardens and floral displays to view, therewere a multitude of other activities and retail therapy toindulge in. Next year, Christchurch City will host the showand take up the challenge to create 2008’s biggestgarden extravaganza.

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