The essential A to Z Ellerslie guide

A is for All Black halfback Andy Ellis and his mate Danny Kamo from John Marsh Landscape Architects who are back in 2010 with “a serious garden”. There is no backyard cricket, beers or barbecue this year; the pair are making a statement about our impact on the environment and promoting sustainable design practices.

B is for Bush Telly, the 2009 Ellerslie International Flower Show Supreme Award winner who has headed to the hills to create this year’s exhibit in the Starlight Marquee. It features a musterer’s hut set against a backdrop of Mount Cass and the rugged North Canterbury back country.

C is for multi gold medal winning Chelsea Flower Show designer Chris Beardshaw who is one of two international designers at this year’s Show. His show-stopping English garden on the shores of Victoria Lake is the Show’s largest. With almost 10,000 plants, including 4500 annuals and 3000 herbaceous plants, it will be a feast for the senses.

D is for Designer advice at the NZ Gardener Speaker Series. Hear expert speakers talk about International Design, What’s Hot? in Australian gardens, Stylist Kiwi Gardens, how to Grow Organic, the Kiwi Kitchen Garden, Wicked Worm Farms, Keeping Chooks and Gourmet Gardening. The series begins at 11am each day.

E is for the new Emerging Design category and the five tertiary students from throughout New Zealand competing to win the title of the Ellerslie International Flower Show Student Designer of the Year presented by Yates. Each has designed and built a small courtyard garden for a townhouse using sustainable home and garden practices.

F is for the Floral Art Marquee where a record number of talented floral designers have this year captured A Moment in Time with their colourful, artistic exhibits which challenge the imagination.

G is for Green and the strong emphasis on sustainability and eco-friendly design coming through in the many exhibits this year, from last year’s Gold award-winning designer Carl Pickens’ Peace by Piece garden to the Christchurch Botanic Gardens’ Pictures of Life and Death garden in the Starlight Marquee that looks at how nature reuses and recycles.

H is for Hort Galore Marquee where the grassroots of the Ellerslie International Flower Show – garden clubs and societies – showcase their rare, interesting and special plants. This is a must visit for everyone to the Show.

I is for Incredible Edibles, the garden with 500-plus edible plants, including banana trees, lemongrass, tamarillos, feijoas and sugar cane, which will be gifted after the Show to Cholmondeley, Canterbury’s family support facility. The productive garden is designed with plenty of appeal for children.

J is for the convenor of Judges Robert Hillier from England, who has impeccable credentials for the job. He has been a Royal Horticultural Society Judge and Chairman of the Show Committee for the last decade and his nursery, Hillier Nurseries Ltd, has won a record-breaking 64 consecutive Gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show.

K is for Koji Ninomiya, the award-winning Japanese designer who has judged at the Ellerslie International Flower Show for the last decade and returns in 2010 to design Ellerslie’s first Japanese garden. The garden will fuse traditional Japanese-style design with contemporary influences.

L is for Landscaping New Zealand and The Great North and South Landscape Build-off which puts some of the country’s best landscapers through their paces, competing to build a mirror image garden with the emphasis on using “local materials for local projects”. A garden of two halves, separated by the Cook Strait (a water feature), it showcases the value of design, garden management and good environmental landscaping practice.

M is for Medals, the gold, silver and bronze medals awarded to the gardens which display innovation, excellence in design and set the trends for garden design in 2011. These medals and the coveted Supreme Awards are widely recognised in the design and horticultural community.

N is for National Flower Bed Competition, being hotly contested in 2010 by a record number of New Zealand cities and districts competing for the title of best flower bed and looking to wrestle the hat trick away from Christchurch, New Zealand’s Garden City.

O is for Ornaments for the house and garden found in the Country Living Marquees and in the Ellerslie Sculpture Garden. The Country Living Marquee is Ellerslie’s little slice of retail heaven – gifts with a garden-related theme – while in the Sculpture Garden works of art for the garden by 21 New Zealand artists are exhibited in and around Lake Albert.

P is for the glamorous Premier Garden Party, the new season’s hottest social event which is also a fundraiser for the Cancer Society. Walk the red carpet like your favourite celebrity, toast the success of the Show with a couple of glasses of bubbly and be part of the prestigious awards ceremony which celebrates the opening of the 2010 Ellerslie International Flower Show.

Q is for reduced Queues and a better visitor experience in 2010. Larger marquees with multiple exit and entrances and longer opening hours, along with a new traffic management plan, improved signage, more food and beverage outlets and a great number of relaxation areas, guarantee visitors an enjoyable 2010 Show.

R is for the flowering Revolution which is underway in our cities and suburbs. Expect to see gardens brimming with bright-coloured flowering perennials – bold reds, yellows, pinks, oranges and purples – as we seek to return to our comfort blanket of a familiar, prosperous past.

S is for Starlight Marquee and the trio of gardens that show how effective garden lighting can extend the enjoyment of your garden into the twilight hours. Gold award-winning 2009 designer Dan Rutherford returns with an ice garden for the Christchurch International Airport Company; an evolving ice garden will have a two-metre high towering iceberg, a developing ice sheet and an ocean abundant with plants representing marine life.

T is for Te Waipounamu Garden, the traditional Maori garden designed to dispel the myths and answer the question of what is a traditional New Zealand garden. A garden without borders, Te Waipounamu will show the physical and spiritual presence found in a Maori garden, such as the harvesting of plants for well-being and how Maori use gardens as a resource for clothing and decorating houses.

U is for Urban design, the cutting edge exhibition gardens which push the boundaries and challenge our thinking about gardens for the future. Finding Solace in the Sky creates New Zealand’s 21st Century quarter-acre paradise – in the sky, while Craig Pocock’s 0800 POOL HIRE exhibit is a water oasis in an industrial setting using industrial-sized dumpsters, mini skips, a shipping container and exotic aquatic weeds.

V is for Vegetables and the “good enough to eat” Fresh Cuisine exhibit at the entrance of the Countdown Lifestyle Marquee. Made entirely from more than 32 varieties of vegetables by Auckland’s The Vege People, the exhibit will tempt the tastebuds with a cauliflower pavlova, kumara prawns and almond turkey. Ellerslie is not just about flowers!

W is for WorldSkills and the 10 apprentices competing for the Young Apprentice Florist of the Year and the chance to represent New Zealand at the 2011 WorldSkills International Floristry Competition in London. Over the five days of the Show, the competitors will each make 15 floral designs which will be for sale on site.

X is for (e)Xcellent bargains at The Great Ellerslie International Flower Show Sell-off on Sunday 14 March for one hour from 5pm. This is a chance to buy plants and other products from the horticultural exhibits and exhibition gardens at bargain prices, including from the garden by multiple award-winning Chelsea Flower Show designer Chris Beardshaw.

Y is for the Yummy selection of food from gourmet sandwiches to enjoy among the trees down by the lakes to a high tea of sandwiches and sweet treats or traditional Devonshire team with scones, jam and lashings of cream in the Christchurch Airport Lounge or an antipasto or cheeseboard platter in The Forest Bar – there is an option to suit every tastebud and budget.

Z is for Zealandia Horticulture, the specialist wholesale plant nursery, which has grown more than 40,000 bedding plants for this year’s Show. The company says Christchurch’s reputation as the Garden City of New Zealand is justified with the city buying more seedling plants per head of population than any other city or town in New Zealand.


Ellerslie International Flower Show is New Zealand’s premier week-long Garden Party in Christchurch’s North Hagley Park from 10 to 14 March 2010. The Show celebrates Christchurch’s Garden City heritage and the best of national and international garden design. Check out the website for further information

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