A year ago, New Zealand’s premier floral event, the annual Ellerslie International Flower Show in Christchurch was cancelled at the last minute due to the earthquake, but at least the floral marquees came into their own in providing temporary accommodation for the rescue services, volunteers and a few stranded people! The 2012 Show has now been staged in Christchurch’s Hagley Park, and this time all went without a hitch. The New Zealand Alpine Garden Society was delighted to be awarded a Silver Distinction for its display on the theme of where our garden plants originated and the superhuman efforts of past and present planthunters to bring home the “bacon” to their commercial sponsors, botanic gardens and wealthy patrons.
The display featured the planthunter’s (very basic!) tent and (very posh!) primus stove, together with various old hand tools and wooden plant labels, alongside a dry stony creek. The pièce de resistance, a Wardian case, was especially commissioned for the exhibit. A case like this would have been used to transport plants back home, and was certainly a talking point amongst our visitors.
Autumn is not the easiest time of year for staging alpine plants, especially after a very hot dry summer, but the stand was colourful with a ribbon of Primula capitata flowering out of season along the “riverbank”, autumn crocuses, cyclamen, rhodohypoxis and gentians. Podophyllum, Amorphophallus, Eucomis, Arisaema and a wide selection of ferns, succulents and native plants provided architecture and texture. This earned the Society a Highly Commended award in the Supreme Horticulture category.
A huge effort by the team, some of whom are already rarin’ to go for next year!