Words: Rachel Vogan | Weekend Gardener March 21 – April 3 2013
Rachel Vogan takes in the highlights of this year at the Ellerslie International Flower Show.
The major trends at the show this year were flowers, flowers and more flowers – although six of the 24 outdoor gardens didn’t have any floral content – followed closely by the use of recycled materials in and around the garden. Designers included ploughs, pitchforks, driftwood, pallets, old drawers and anything else they could find.
The outstanding example of this was the garden that not only had the judges in raptures but attracted huge interest from showgoers, leaving its designers Rebecca Hammond and Grant Stephens over the moon. The dynamic duo designed “Revolutionising Reuse”, which received not only the Judges’ Supreme Award but also the Supreme Award for Design.
Three Wellington designers struck gold at Ellerslie, and when, on top of that, Raumati South School from the Kapiti Coast won the Yates People’s Choice award, everyone was asking “What’s in the water up there?”
Multi award winner Ben Hoyle, of Blue Gecko Landscapes, won another Ellerslie gold with his garden “A French Kiss in Akaroa”. The crowds loved the way he wove perennials, hedging and flowers through the nintricate lawn patterns surrounded by water.
In the Emerging Design section, Bayley Luu Tomes won gold medals for design and lighting and earned himself the Young Designer of the Year title. Judges said his work stood out because of both its “great use of space and materials and its faultless construction.”
Rachael Matthews, who won an Ellerslie Gold medal last year and the Yound Designer of the Year title, this year designed the gold medal winner in the Zealandia national flower bed competition, not for Wellington, where she is based but for Auckland with “City of Sails”. Judges said the level of finishing and plant detailing was faultless. She was assisted by Christine Prebble, also from Wellington”