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ARC wins gold for edible garden at Ellerslie

ARC wins gold for edible garden at Ellerslie Flower Show

15 November 2005

The Auckland Botanic Gardens exhibit, ‘A Menu for Life’, today won one of only two gold awards in the exhibition garden category at this year’s Ellerslie Flower Show.

ARC Parks and Heritage Committee Chair Sandra Coney says the award is another wonderful achievement for the ARC and for the botanic gardens in particular.

“The botanic gardens’ team has created a unique and inspirational garden that has been recognised by the show’s judges as having award-winning qualities.

“This garden offers a range of ideas for gardeners of all abilities. It also highlights the importance of healthy living by promoting the benefits of fresh homegrown fruit and vegetables.

“Garden designer Brooke Stark and her colleagues at the Auckland Botanic Gardens are to be commended on their innovative efforts,” she says.

Auckland Botanic Gardens exhibit ‘A Menu for Life’ is an inspiring combination of plants and garden ideas designed to promote healthy living.

Botanic Gardens Curator Manager Jack Hobbs hopes that this year’s Ellerslie Flower Show exhibit will inspire people to create edible gardens in their own backyard.

“This garden is about creating something that is both beautiful and productive.

“The Auckland Botanic Gardens is not just a big flower garden, it is a place where ideas grow. Our aim is not only to inform people but to inspire them to take these ideas home and make them thrive in their own backyard,” he says.

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The exhibit, created entirely by Botanic Gardens staff, focuses on healthy living and sustainable gardening ideas. It uses combinations of fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers that complement each other. These examples of companion planting are further enhanced by a beehive, compost area and water feature.

Set in the edible garden is an outdoor kitchen.

“Healthy living is not just about enjoying the outdoors and gardening. Homegrown fruit and vegetables are a delicious and rewarding result of spending time in your garden,” says Mr Hobbs.

There will be daily demonstrations of cooking fresh produce from the edible garden, carried out by Auckland chef Mark Nicholson, in conjunction with 5+ A Day.

Cr Sandra Coney says this year’s win builds on past success.

“Last year’s gold medal winning garden, ‘The Mythological Maze of Maui’, is now being enjoyed by many visitors to the Potter Children’s Garden here at the Botanic Gardens.

“It is pleasing to see another exhibit that gives visitors ideas to keep thinking about long after they’ve left the flower show.

“We hope this exhibit will encourage people to return to the Botanic Gardens, site of the Ellerslie Flower Show, to learn more about the plants that grow in our region.”

The Auckland Botanic Gardens are open every day from 8am to 8pm (daylight savings hours) and visitors can stroll around the different gardens and plant collections. The award-winning Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre – Huakaiwaka is open from 10am – 4pm daily, with Café Miko also open for dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings.


- ‘A Menu for Life’ was designed by Brooke Stark and the garden was created by Brooke, Steve Benham, Jane Wright and Kim Stretton – all staff at Auckland Botanic Gardens.

Chef Mark Nicholson
Mark has worked in kitchens around the world, from Sydney to San Francisco, to alongside the notorious Gordon Ramsay in Soho, London. In Auckland, Mark has been head chef at inner city café’s, five-star hotels and for exclusive guests at two Americas Cup campaigns.

Mark developed the recipes for this exhibit with the best possible presentation of wholesome fresh produce in mind. His recipes are available online at

- The Ellerslie Flower Show runs from 16-20 November at the Auckland Botanic Gardens. Further information, including tickets, times and transport information can be found at

- For a detailed map of ‘A Menu for Life’ exhibit, garden advice and Botanic Gardens information go to

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