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Five cities will vie for the Zealandia National Flower Bed Competition title at this year’s Ellerslie International Flower Show.
Rotorua, which won bronze at the 2010 show, returns this year along with Auckland and Napier to challenge Ashburton and Christchurch for the prestigious title.
Reigning champions Akaroa and Bays, who stole the hat trick from the Garden City in 2010, winning the competition with a floral tribute to Banks Peninsula’s landmark Akaroa Lighthouse, are not looking to retain the title this year.
Christchurch, which won the first National Flower Bed Competition held at the last Auckland Show in 2007, and again in 2009 at the first Show in Christchurch, return in 2012 with a garden, which multi-award winning designer Jeremy Hawker says reflects Christchurch’s role as the gateway to the Antarctic.
He promises the exhibit will be “bright and colourful”, it being based on a cartoon caricature of a penguin sitting in a deck chair on an island, shaded by a large cabbage tree, wearing board shorts and a floral shirt.
Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker says after losing to neighbouring Akaroa and Bays in 2010, he is confident Christchurch can regain the title in 2012.
“Our Garden City pride is always at stake in this competition.”
The Christchurch Botanic Gardens team, who have designed all Christchurch’s award-winning gardens in the competition, won a Silver Distinction in 2010 for their garden depicting the symbolic image of punting on the Avon.
Christchurch’s penguin will compete against two-metre high floral Rotorua geysers and bubbling mud pools; art deco facades from Napier; an exhibit from Auckland featuring Rangitoto Island and quintessential City of Sails icons; and Ashburton’s salmon angling paradise.
Other gardens in this year’s event are the Edmonds Factory Garden being created by Keep Christchurch Beautiful and a garden by the Christchurch International Airport Company which celebrates its location at the heart of the South Island.
Multi-gold award-winning Ellerslie designer Lynn Cairney from Auckland who is designing all three North Island entries says she has the national title in her sights.
“As all my previous garden entries at Ellerslie have won gold, I will definitely be going for gold again this year and to lift the National Flower Bed title from the South Island.”
This is the first time Lynn of Fusion Landscape Design has entered the National Flower Bed Competition and it is her first exhibit at the Show since it moved to Christchurch.
“Napier City’s entry celebrates the city’s role as the Art Deco Capital of the World based around its 1930s facades, as well as the region’s role wine and hospitality industry.
“With Rotorua District, I am creating the geysers, mud pools, hot water pools and lakes which the district is world renowned – the garden is sure to draw a lot of attention.”
Lynn says the Auckland garden will be a representation of the elements of her home city – the harbour, Rangitoto Island covered in Pohutukawa, sailing and mixed planting to represent the diverse multi-culturalsociety that is Auckland.
Ellerslie International Flower Show, North Hagley Park, 7 to 11 March 2012. For more information www.ellerslieflowershow.co.nz