6 Mar 2012

Pipe dream blossoms into Ellerslie Show winner

10:43 pm on 6 March 2012

A first time exhibitor has won the top award at the Ellerslie International Flower Show.

Many of the entries were inspired by the devastating February earthquake which forced the Christchurch-based show to be cancelled last year.

The Judges' Supreme Award was announced on Tuesday night and went to engineering firm Beca's courtyard garden inspired by the Mackenzie Basin's Waitaki power scheme and tussock landscape.


Max's Pipe Dream, An Engineer's Garden, imagined what Max Smith, the project engineer for the Upper Waitaki Hydroelectric Power Scheme, might have created as a garden in Twizel using plants and other materials found in the area.

The garden was designed by Paul Roper-Gee and used construction material and plants, including weeds.

Convenor of judges Jim Fogarty, of Australia, said the garden is fun, innovative, well styled and the clear winner.

It has a great message for earthquake-stricken Cantabrians about reusing and combining contemporary and industrial materials with style, he said.

The judges also said the garden captured what was unique and quintessentially Kiwi in an ever-changing environment.

Eight gold medals were also awarded on Tuesday, along with silver, bronze and merit awards.

Christchurch designer Dan Rutherford won a gold medal for his garden which used parts of a stone wall from a quake-damaged church.

Mr Rutherford said the ruins in Christchurch are beautiful and should be used.

"I think at the moment we're looking at them as though they're something that we've got to just throw away and put in a hole in the ground.

"But I actually think that long term, we're going to look at these materials as the best materials we could possibly be using in our city. Things like gardens, they become a really beautiful thing."

The Ellerslie Flower Show at North Hagley Park is open to the public from Wednesday morning.


Supreme Award winners

Judges' Supreme Award: Max's Pipe Dream, An Engineer's Garden, by Beca (designer: Paul Roper-Gee).

Supreme Award for Lighting: The Butterfly Affect by Leicester Murray and Hilary Wetton.

Ellerslie International Construction Award: A Garden for Christchurch by Xanthe White.

Supreme Award for Horticultural Excellence: Transitions by Colin Meurk from Landcare Research.

Supreme Award for Design Excellence: Metro GlassTech by Sandi MacRae.