Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Welcome Back, Little Petal!

This week's return of the Ellerslie Flower Show to Christchurch is more than 'just another show'.
The show was cancelled last year after the Feb.quake, but its return will bring a welcome burst of colour to the embattled city. A quarter of a million plants and flowers will help lift residents' spirits after a very long and trying year. Many of this year's displays reflect thoughts of the city's future.
Kate Hillier, Ellerslie event manager: "It's an opportunity for the designers to give something back, and show some inspirational ideas."
Remnants of the earthquake will loom large this year, with a strong theme of reclaiming Christchurch. One designer is using blocks of stone from a damaged city church, others are using reclaimed chimney bricks, beams and even cones used as planters.
On 22nd Feb.2011, the EQ struck as the Ellerslie Flower Show was being set up in Hagley Park. Trees toppled and silt immediately bubbled up from the ground, covering the site in grey water within minutes. In the aftermath, the huge marquees became evacuation tents and a gathering place for city workers. Ellerslie staff helped set up a temporary shelter which housed over a thousand people for the first 24 hours.
Jump forward to 2012: the 25 judges from New Zealand and overseas were on-site picking the winners yesterday, and continue this morning. There were initial concerns about whether people would return after last year's cancellation, but that's not the case. Many of this year's exhibitors were scheduled to take part last year and wanted to return because they had a sense of 'unfinished business'. There are about 90 horticultural exhibits and around 30 of these are big gardens - that's on par with numbers in previous years.
The show is open to the public from tomorrow (Wed.7th) through to Sunday 11th March, 10am-7pm at North Hagley Park.

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