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Student designer goes green at the Ellerslie Flower Show

The Ellerslie Flower Show is New Zealand’s biggest and best exhibition of horticulture and landscape design.  Held annually over a three week period, the event draws in crowds in excess of 15,000 and attracts industry experts from across the country.

As part of the Show, local up-and-coming designer, and Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec) student H’lana Gilmore will be among a select group competing for the Student Designer of the Year Award.

Organisers say the student display has been the launch pad for many successful careers and provides an opportunity for participants to demonstrate real design flair.  This year the competition will include an installation where the students are required to design and build their own garden, with a budget of only $3,000.

Working to the brief provided by organisers, H’lana’s garden entitled ‘Life’ is designed for a small townhouse that is home to a young family.  It was the own unique theme based on the life-cycle of the monarch butterfly that stood out to event organisers and secured her place at the show.  “The theme really drove my design. I looked at who I was designing for, thought about the use of materials and wanted to incorporate sustainable ideas as much as possible.  The butterfly design went from there.“

The butterfly theme is not only a metaphor for sustainability and growth but will allow the design to incorporate many eco-friendly elements. “I’ll be using lots of New Zealand pine, small perennials and swan plants for pollination.”

With the show opening in March, the Diploma in Horticulture student has three weeks to build her butterfly garden.  While the task at hand might be daunting to some, H’lana has a pragmatic approach.

“I’ll need all the skills I’ve learnt over the course of my studies in this one project so it will be rewarding to see how far I’ve come.”

Tutor Rosemary Nelson says H’lana has all the elements needed to be very successful.  “The organisers of the competition liked H’lana’s theme and her ideas.  The whole operation will be challenging, she’s going to have to be totally committed, it will involve over 100 plants, all the construction and coordinating.

“There is a lot of work involved but she has been aware of that from day one.  She has been developing and progressing well as she moves through the various stages of the project plan.

It has all the professionalism WelTec would like to see.  We expect that she will do very well.”

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