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10th Anniversary Ellerslie Flower Show

18 November

Australians invade the 10th Anniversary Ellerslie Flower Show

Australians are infamous for claiming our sports stars and celebrities as their own - and now they're trying to steal our best garden design ideas too.

The 10th Anniversary Ellerslie Flower Show at the Auckland Regional Botanic Gardens in Manukau City next week has attracted a record number of Australian journalists, judges, speakers and garden designers keen to spot emerging trends on this side of the Tasman.

This year half of Ellerslie's international judging panel hails from across the ditch. Melbourne landscape designer Jim Fogarty, who designed Australia's silver medal-winning garden at the 2004 Chelsea Flower Show, joins Sydney lighting designer Dean Boone, landscape construction expert Mark Bence and Rob Small, a representative from Australia's largest wholesale nursery, Flemings.

Flemings funded the Australian garden at Chelsea this year and they generously sponsor an annual trans-Tasman student design challenge that sees the winner of the Ellerslie Flower Show's student competition compete against young designers at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.

Jim Fogarty, a former Cleo Bachelor of the Year finalist and the Victorian designer on TV show Backyard Blitz, describes New Zealand landscape design as exciting, adventurous and cutting-edge.

"New Zealand designers have a fresh, forward-thinking approach to garden design. I think the great attribute of Ellerslie is that your designers are very unaffected by international styles and themes. They're able to do their own thing.

"My other interpretation from driving around Auckland is that people respect plants more than they do in Australia. In Melbourne there's just too much concrete."

While at Ellerslie, Fogarty is also presenting two lectures in the New Zealand Gardener Speaker Series. He'll share what's hot and what's not in Australian garden design and reveal his experience creating crowd-pleasing show gardens at Chelsea, Melbourne and Sydney events.

Sydney garden designer and ABC Gardening Australia TV presenter Andrew O'Sullivan will also be entertaining and educating local gardeners in the Green Shed Speaker's Corner.

O'Sullivan is a reuse guru who specialises in turning "waste into wealth".

"I take waste materials from demolition sites and turn them into landscapes. In the old days it was just called scavenging," he jokes.

O'Sullivan visited the 2003 Ellerslie Flower Show and says he was impressed by the quality of the designs and craftmanship on display.

"New Zealand garden designers are very creative and I was blown away by the sculptures and artisans too. I came away with more inspiring ideas from Ellerslie than I've ever got from the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show."

Andrew O'Sullivan will be joined in the Green Shed Speaker's Corner by fellow Australian Kevin Walsh - an expert on water-wise gardening - to promote sustainable gardening practices.

For the first time, the 10th Anniversary Ellerslie Flower Show is open after dark for three nights to enable landscape designers to incorporate innovative outdoor lighting in their designs. The gala evening on Tuesday 23 November has sold out, but members of the public can still buy twilight tickets for Friday 26 November and Saturday 27 November.

Sydney lighting designer Dean Boone is one of the expert judges for the inaugural Ellerslie Flower Show Supreme Award for Lighting Excellence.

"Ellerslie is the premier show in New Zealand but I think it is also of a higher standard than anything in Australia. It's not just a show - it's an event."

"In Australia we have a bigger industry but there's a repetition of people and ideas. It's good to be exposed to different styles and I'm particularly keen to see how New Zealand designers experiment with night lighting."

Australian journalists covering the 10th Anniversary Ellerslie Flower Show include Sydney's 2GB radio host Judy Horton, Perth TV presenter and Garden Gurus designer Kate Main, Australian House & Garden gardens editor Paul Urquhart, Con Searle from About the Garden, Colin Campbell from Brisbane's 4BC and Marion Tyree from Landscape Outlook.

International journalists from Israel, UK, Asia, Ireland, Italy and Japan are also covering the show.

The 10th Anniversary Ellerslie Flower Show is open to the public from 10am daily from November 24-28 at the Auckland Regional Botanic Gardens in Manukau City. Ellerslie Flower Show tickets are on sale now at Ticketek or at the gate during show week.


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