Ellerslie International Flower Show

On Saturday 1st March I spent a very happy and entertaining day at the Ellerslie International Flower Show in North Hagley Park, Christchurch. The rights to stage this show were purchased (for a considerable sum of money) by Christchurch City Council some years ago and, to be honest, I think most people would say it’s been a bit of a mixed bag since it moved from its original location of the suburb of Ellerslie, in Auckland, to North Hagley Park in Christchurch. However, this year I believe the organisers came up trumps, and produced a wonderful show with something for everyone:  great gardens, great competitions, great entertainment, great atmosphere, and great crowds to enjoy it all: well done!

A huge drawcard in previous years has been crowd favourite Jenny Gillies, a Christchurch-based costume and fabric artist – Jenny was back again this year, with a fabulous Naughty by Nature show, a fully choreographed performance set to music that was funny, entertaining, and full of beautiful, sumptuous floral artwear. There were five free performances a day plus static displays, and I have to confess to having plonked my posterior in a chair in the front row some 50 minutes before the performance started to ensure I got in:  having seen the crowds 10 rows deep outside the tent for the previous performance, and having heard the music and the laughter and the clapping, there was no way I wanted to miss it!  And it was absolutely worth it – my photos can’t really do justice to the beautiful creations.

My personal favourites (apart from Jenny G’s show, that is) were the sculpture garden (amazing what can be created out of driftwood!), and the school garden competition, with the children themselves on hand to explain what they did.  And whilst my attempts at gardening are at the level of a 5-year old just learning to read and write when compared with what was on show, I really enjoyed seeing the creative and inspiring results, and will definitely go again.  All I have to do now is sort through the 500-plus photos I took and decide which ones to share with you 🙂

Here goes … enjoy!

First up, some of the school gardens:

Next, a small sample of the bonsai section, together with a selection of some of the floral ‘jewellery’:

One section that caught my eye was “CanStruction”, which was raising funds for the Methodist City Mission and where the entrants had to create something using only canned food (which would be donated to the City Mission following the show):  some of the exhibits were instantly recognisable for those who have been through the Christchurch earthquakes!

One of the challenges for exhibitors in the floral arrangement section was a display based on the title of a book – my particular favourite was “A Ball in the Country”, with its ‘men’ dressed in blue jeans, all gathered round the ‘bar’, while the ‘ladies’ waited to one side in their beautiful ‘ball gowns’:  very clever, I thought!

There were, of course, flowers and gardens … 🙂

And sculptures – ah, the sculptures!

Not forgetting the quirky and the miscellaneous …

… and finally – finally – the photos from Jenny Gillies’ show:  I had a really hard time deciding which ones to leave out, let me tell you!

At the end of the day I was tempted to buy one of these, for nigh-on $600:


… but settled instead for a ‘fill a bag’ of mixed daffodil bulbs for a mere $10:  a very good deal in my books, because they will give me pleasure every year and will go forth and multiply and multiply and multiply!


And so ended a day well spent:  the weather gods smiled on us (having disbursed hail, rain and cold south-westerlies the afternoon before), I didn’t see one cross face the whole day, and I got to talk to a whole lot of lovely people who, like me, were thoroughly enjoying the show – what more could you ask for? 🙂