|Sonja Cameron of Cameron's Nursery, Arcadia NSW covered the event for 'Greenworld' and
filed this report.
Design by Sanda Arnet 'Coastal
Reef Garden' - Won Gold
This was our fourth visit to The Ellerslie Flower Show and we are yet to be disappointed. Set in the
Auckland Regional Botanical Gardens in Manukau City during November, more than 70,000
visitors walked through the turnstiles this year. The Rotary Club of Auckland established this show
as a unique fundraiser and has donated all surplus money since it's beginning in 1994. The group
donates to charities all over New Zealand and has so far donated some $440,000. Hundreds of
volunteers give their time to make the five-day event a memorable one and the largest gardening
and outdoor event in the Southern Hemisphere after Melbourne's famous International Flower and
Garden Show (MIFGS).
The success of this show is due to many factors
Seven full time people work all year round on the event in conjunction with Rotary volunteers.
During the month before opening a team of contractors and workers help to transform a piece of
the Botanical garden into a mini-city with all modern facilities. The site is beautiful with native
bushland and gardens which creates the atmosphere so essential for a major garden show. The
creativity of the designers and exhibitors is new and different every year. Each design is unique
and collectively the exhibits cover gardening of all tastes from coastal gardens, New Zealand and
Australian native gardens, children's gardens and formal English and cottage gardens to name but
a few. The show has mainly horticultural associated products set in extremely tastefully laid out
marquees and outdoor areas. There are 300 exhibits and retailers displaying at the show. Food is
plentiful with seating and covered areas dotted around the grounds.
Special awards - the competition is tough!
Awards are given to exhibitors in the different areas set up throughout the show. Being given an
award by the judges is a highlight as the competition is tough. This year the judges awarded 19
Gold, 23 Silver and 29 Bronze medals.
Set around the outdoor exhibits is a series of five large marquees. Inside each marquee the
central theme is different - a factor to truly delight the senses.
The 'Discovery Marquee' features a garden of the future. Visitors are taken on a pathway
through water-powered sculptures, fibre-optic spotlight wetlands and permaculture gardens. The
'Grand Marquee' is home to a number of well-known national and international exhibitors
and many beautiful waterscapes and gardens of tranquillity are housed in this area.
The 'Floral Art and Design Marquee' is a feast for the senses. Exhibitors are professional
florists, floral designers, floral art clubs and societies. They use thousands of flowers to create a
glorious floral extravaganza.
The 'Earth Vision Marquee' contains conservation and organic themes.
The 'Design Marquee' has a theme of colored gardens. All designs are imaginative and
My two favourites were the Tourism New Zealand Garden Art and the Outdoor Gardens.
Design by Jamie Durie "Prime
Garden Trails of Australia" - Won Gold
These are a collection of twelve designs using innovative ideas and themes. Auckland Botanical
Garden designed an outdoor living area using edible plants in a practical garden setting..
Manukau City Council featured an interactive childrens' adventure playground where the
participants were able to learn about touch, smell, listening and respect for the environment while
enjoying their playtime. Another favourite created by Sandra Arnet depicted a coastal reef garden
with four towers of bubbling water holding a roof shading an outdoor living area. Surrounding this
was a coastal paradise featuring good use of succulents, grasses and flowers with shells and
sand. New Zealanders are keen gardeners and this show brings together people from far and
wide, both locally and internationally, to experience the outdoor sensation that this show has
For Australian visitors
Visitors from Australia will not find many new plants but rather, innovative ways in which to use
them. The New Zealand love of gardening is displayed in many shapes and forms. New
Zealanders' are ahead in terms of plant selection by about eighteen months to two years in some
areas. Succulents were in fashion in NZ long before they made the big time here. This seems set
for change once again - back to flowering gardens I believe.
Ellerslie is a show for garden and plant lovers
Design by Staff Design Team at
the Auckland Botanical Gardens - "Courtyard Cuisine" - Won Silver
The ambience at Ellerslie is wonderful. Try to make it this year and prepare to be inspired for you
will probably take home many ideas to use in your home and business.
The Tuesday session is from 12noon and this is for the disabled and the trade. I would encourage
any industry colleagues to visit on this day. The Wednesday to Sunday is for the general public and
it is packed. Accommodation is booked well in advance, so don't leave this to the last minute.
There are also lovely open gardens in NZ that are inspiring and well worth a visit. Finally, do take
some time out to look around the Auckland Botanical Gardens while you're there.
See you at Ellerslie next November!