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Christchurch garden designer Dan Rutherford returns to the 2012 Ellerslie International Flower Show for his third consecutive show with his “most dynamic garden”.
Dan, a previous gold medal and Supreme Lighting Award winner, joins with international lighting expert Andrew Frazer, renowned for his work on international theme park exhibits, to create his third garden in the Christchurch International Airport Starlight Marquee.
Dan says he is “more excited about this exhibit then any I’ve done before – it is going to be awesome”.
Fresh Start – New Growth is designed to help Christchurch residents reconnect and form a new trust with the land following the recent earthquakes – “it is going to be dynamic, interesting and will really capture the imagination of visitors to the show”.
Dan, who is also a geologist, says getting our hands back into the soil is important to help rebuild the trust that everyone had in the city’s strength and stability.
“We need to learn how to adapt to our new perspective and accept the challenges that face this city. The ruins of our city are the building blocks of our future and we need to rebuild afresh – strong, lightweight, stable and organic.”
He says Christchurch residents have always been gardeners and to move forward, trusting our homes and land again, “we need to get our hands into the dirt”.
“Gardening is a big part of our healing process.”
Fresh Start – New Growth has a ruined wall running longitudinally through the middle of the garden, representing the buildings that have fallen, buildings which everyone thought would be there forever. “What was once strong, stable and unchanging has been ripped apart. The garden that surrounds it is has grown up and over the wall, representing the people of Christchurch as they grow, adapt and learn to thrive in their new environment.
“Tiny native plants spread over the landscape, learning to grow and thrive in the new environment, offering new hope, as does the water misting over the garden, supporting new life.”
Dan says water in the garden is also like tears, recognising the city’s grief while at the same time washing it away, to cleanse the environment and enable the city’s gardens to grow.
Two large screens cut across the garden flashing up images, thoughts and ideas about the past and hopes for the city’s future. “These represent fleeting memories and ideas, being abstract, like an artwork.”
Thousands of lights are integrated into the design, nestled among the foliage – “these are going to be wicked”, Dan says. “The lights represent the people who have helped Christchurch, lined up in rows of white and amber and glistening like stars.”
Dan says Ellerslie will be even more special this year as it embraces the past and helps define our future.
Ellerslie International Flower Show, North Hagley Park, 7 to 11 March 2012. Early Bird tickets are available for $29 at www.ellerslieflowershow.co.nz until February 13.