Organisers are pleased too with the public’s response to the Show which has brought a steady stream of visitors to Christchurch’s North Hagley Park over the past five days.
“There has been a wonderful vibe at Ellerslie this year. The crowds have been happy and relaxed and people have been genuinely inspired by the talent on the display. They’ve loved the colour and originality of the gardens and really appreciated the chance to meet with the exhibitors and to talk to them about ideas for their own backyard,’’ says Show Managing Director Dave Mee.
“Edible Ellerslie has been a great crowd pleaser. People have loved watching our celebrity chefs transform fresh garden produce into delectable dishes and have gone home filled with fresh ideas to try out in the kitchen.’’
United Kingdom Garden Designer of the Year, Andrew Fisher Tomlin, who was this year’s convenor of judges, says the exhibitors, particularly the student and first-time designers, have followed their hearts and shown great passion and commitment.
“They have come with no preconception of what a garden should be. This is really encouraging and points to a great future for horticulture and design,” Fisher Tomlin says.
New Zealand’s gardening guru, turned Member of Parliament, Maggie Barry, has been among the visitors to Ellerslie and she says she has been impressed by what she has seen. There were plenty of ideas that people could take home and be inspired by.
“Recycling was big and emerging designers have done a wonderful job creating clever ideas with a quirky edge. I loved the combination of plants and artwork too,” Ms Barry says.
Ruud Kleinpaste, an environmental gardening expert, writer and broadcaster, says the two trends that stood out for him at Ellerslie this year were sustainability and youth.
“This is the first Ellerslie I feel had a clear sign that we are getting a new generation of gardeners.
“The young gardeners aged from six to 26 really stood out this year. The children’s garden which won the Yates People’s Choice had a winning formula because people could go to these young kids and talk to them about sustainability, bugs, healthy food and how to be good gardeners.
Mr Kleinpaste says this year’s emerging designers (students of landscape design) had a clear statement to make about maximising space, recycling, and using natural materials.
Two young designers, Rebecca Hammond and Grant Stephens and their seven month old company H&S Landscapes, took out the Supreme prize at this year’s show with their emphasis on clever recycling ideas.
“Look what the future holds. Take designers like Gold-medal winner Ben Hoyle, who is still young at 35. He is a veteran of Ellerslie having started at 21 and he has proven with this year’s stunning lakeside garden that he knows how to command a site,” Mr Kleinpaste says.
The gates to the 2013 Ellerslie International Flower Show may now be closed but the show’s impact on Christchurch will continue to be felt for many months to come.
Many of the plants and flowers displayed at Ellerslie over the past few days will be put to use around Christchurch to add an instant injection of colour. The floral art will make its way to rest homes and charity organisations after the judging is over, providing colour and cheer for some who have little left, while community garden projects like Greening the Rubble will be given hundreds of the plants used during the Show so they can recycled across the city.