Back to the Land – A Year of Country Gardening
By Lynda Hallinan, September 2012
Lynda is a judge at the Ellerslie International Flower Show. Initially she was unsure about attending the show after the devastating quake in Christchurch ...
What an eerie experience it is to be in Christchurch for something as frivolous as a flower show when, one block back from the motel where mum, Lucas and I are staying, the central city is slowly and depressingly being dismembered behind the red zone cordon. I was nervous about coming but it feels good to be here to support the local gardeners, designers and growers. It’s the least we can do.
Against the odds, the Ellerslie International Flower Show has its mojo back. Hagley Park is in spiffing shape, with thousands of colourful hanging baskets dotted around the show grounds and, though most of the exhibits reference the devastating quake, the focus is clearly on the future.
The gardens are fantastic, and Lucas can’t keep his fingers off them. He’s a marigold and mulch magnet; I’m forever prising petals and bark chips out of his paws.
My favourite exhibit is a wee vege patch designed by a Wellington student, Rachael Matthews. It comes complete with a clever composting system – just lift up the boardwalk planks and shove your green waste out of sight underneath; now that’s my type of tidying! – and has exquisite natural obelisks from garlic flowers and toetoe. Her flax teepees in particular put mine to shame (note from Rachael: very kind but I am sure Lynda’s are fabulous, like everything she does!)