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From ballet shoes to gardening gloves

25 February 2013

From ballet shoes to gardening gloves

Lincoln University landscape architecture students Tenille Picket and Justine Carey thought outside the box when coming up with the design for their quirky rooftop garden.

Two childhood friends who met at ballet classes when they were five are hoping to use the Ellerslie International Flower Show as a launching pad for their careers as landscape designers.

Bridget Robilliard and Kate Street flat together and are both in their final year of studying landscape architecture at Lincoln University. They have decided to put their design flair to the test by entering the Emerging Designers – Student of the Year competition at this year’s Ellerslie International Flower Show.

This year’s competition pits students of landscape, design and horticulture against each other to see who can come up with the best design for a rooftop garden.

Brigdet and Kate say the design they have come up with is designed to appeal to socially active young men as the garden features a dart board, a hide-away foosball table, and barbecue facilities.

They have incorporated old cinema chairs seats from the Rialto Theatre in Christchurch into garden, refurbishing them so they look new but still hint at their past.

“Our design is focused very much on the resurgence style currently appearing through Christchurch. We have used materials that are old and refurbished them to give them a new purpose and look,’’ says Kate Street.

To win the competition Kate and Bridget will have to outperform some of their fellow students at Lincoln University as third year landscape architecture students Tenille Picket and Justine Carey are also entering.

The pair says they thought outside the box when coming up with the design for their quirky rooftop garden.

“Our design is very quirky. We have a number of bespoke sculpture-like ideas which incorporate lighting and plants as materials. Our main point of difference is that our space is transformable. The main elements are moveable and can be put together to form different furniture options,’’ says Tenille Picket.

“We have drawn inspiration from space saving designs to create a uniquely flexible space.’’

She says she and Justine decided to enter the competition because they both enjoy exploring unique design solutions are at the point in their learning where they wanted to see a physical manifestation of their ideas.

“This is a great chance to get our names out there. We are both very motivated and strong willed in what we like and feel this is a great opportunity to present our way of thinking to the public/potential clients,’’ says Tenille Picket.

Horticulture apprentices Johanna Blakely and Max Campfens both work at Ambrosia Nurseries and got a taste of Ellerslie last year when they helped to set up some of the corporate gardens. This year they are forging out on their own by entering their own rooftop garden into Emerging Designers competition.

Johanna Blakely says as soon as she read the client brief for the competition she knew she wanted to design a space that would appeal to her Sydney-based brother.

“Throughout the design process, I have planned the garden for him. "Jake's Garden" is designed for my brother's return to his home city.

“The garden is viewed through the open french doors that invite you in. It is a relaxing space, created for people and easy entertaining. A balcony effect at the rear of the garden creates the impression of additional space beyond the walls.’’

Johanna Blakely says one of the exciting features of the garden is the newly discovered and extremely rare Wollemi Pine. Found in New South Wales in 1994, this pine is one of the oldest tree species according to fossil records.

The Ellerslie International Flower Show is on in North Hagley Park from March 6 to 10.

Tickets for Ellerslie International Flower Show, at a pre-gate price of $35 for Adult Anyday passes, are available at, all open Christchurch City Council Service Centres, Mitre 10 Mega Stores in Christchurch, Ashburton and Timaru, EziBuy Christchurch, Terra Viva and Nichols Garden Centres.


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