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Award winning flower garden for Auckland City Council

City of Sails -
Gold Medal Garden & Supreme Award 

Ellerslie International Flower Show 2013

Modelled on Chelsea, Ellerslie is New Zealand's premiere garden exhibition & retail show, and gardens are judged around the world by a panel of local and international judges against a common standard.


Here is our garden which we designed & built for Ellerslie on behalf of the Auckland (City) Council. It was entered in the bedding/flower garden category & had to reflect a regional theme.

Pebble mosaic & koru hull
Blue waters of Auckland harbour
Swirls & eddies of flowers & shell
City of Sails
Sailing around Auckland
The blue waters around Auckland
Cineraria, Ageratum, Petunias, Pansy
Pebble mosaic & marine ply hull
Prow of our flower bed yacht
Koru hull, sand, sea & shell
City of Sails at Ellerslie
Rachael Matthews & Chris Prebble
Winning a gold medal

Renee Davies who headed the judging panel, said there was a distinct wow factor in the garden. “It tells a real story and stands out because it is so well finished.”


Auckland has a beautiful harbour and is surrounded by sparkling waters, islands and a picturesque coastline – which makes for great sailing and water sports. It is affectionately called “the City of Sails”.


In our garden, a small sailing yacht cuts through the waters of the beautiful Waitemata Harbour. The gently swelling waves shimmer in shades of blue through to glistening white horses.


In its wake of Cineraria “Silverdust”, are shades of Ageratum, Petunias, Lobelias, Verbena and Pansies which swirl & whorl forming eddies, spilling out onto the shore and coast.


We built the supporting boat or wave structure ourselves from sheets of ply, with a koru wave design in pebbles, and black applique shapes stuck over the joins in ply where the stakes hold the structure in place.


I co-designed the garden with my colleague Chris Prebble, and it was a real team effort. A big thank you to our suppliers and sponsors Auckland (City) Council, Zealandia & Egmont Seeds, and Weltec.

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