from the Ellerslie Flower Show
Neil Ross and Gil Hanly
New Holland NZ
ELLERSLIE Flower Show
is, of course, not just any old flower show - it is a tribute to
New Zealand's gardeners, showcasing the richness and diversity that
makes gardening this country's number one pastime.
writer Neil Ross and Gil Hanly, the doyenne of New Zealand's garden photographers,
have put together a beautiful and timely book encapsulating the
spirit of the annual show over its 10-year history.
As Maggie Barry reminds
us in her introduction, about 70,000 visitors annually make the
pilgrimage to Auckland's Regional Botanic Gardens in Manurewa "for
the pleasure and privilege of seeing the best Kiwi gardening has
In his introduction,
Neil Ross backgrounds the beginnings of the show and then traces
its evolution, reminding the reader that in a fragmented industry
Ellerslie has formed "a valuable nucleus".
Rather than a show-by-show
history, Ross has chosen a variety of themes - Harking Back,
Essentially Kiwi, Dreamscapes and Playing it Straight
among them - to capture the show's essence and fire the reader's
His easy style breathes
life into past shows and exhibits. Gil Hanly's compelling photography
reacquaints show-goers with many of their favourite exhibits - the
various wildflower exhibits, last year's 'Kubla Khan', the technicoloured
boots and shoes crammed with succulents, to name just three. A useful
appendix lists the details of the designers whose work appears in
As the title suggests,
the book is not just a souvenir. It's a mirror in which Kiwi gardeners
can see their gardens (or the gardens they dream of having) reflected.
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH