Gardening: It's a matter of space

By Leigh Bramwell


After  the Melbourne Flower Show, I had plant envy. Post-Taranaki, The Landscaper had lawn envy. Now, after Ellerslie, I have space envy.

No, I'm not hankering for a larger space - heaven knows looking after a couple of acres is enough - but the ability to better use the space we have.

To that end, I'm taking Nicola Martin and Gina Langridge home with me, or at least stealing a floor plan of the rooftop garden they designed for the Emerging Designs section of the Ellerslie Flower Show.

The Landscaper was also smitten, although it's still uncertain whether it was the fabulousness of the design or the designers who won the day.

These two wanted to design a rooftop garden to host the trendiest party in town, so they incorporated a sitting area, coffee table, fruit trees, herb garden and, obviously, somewhere to mix the drinks. Yes, it did all fit, and there was no sense of overcrowding. Even I, no sylph at 175cm tall and 70-something kilos, carrying camera gear, had no problem negotiating my way to the bar.

Colour was a major design element in this garden with lashings of pink and yellow, and the girly style contrasted beautifully with the man-themed gardens further along.

Interestingly, the ultimate guy's hangout, called "Man Up!" was designed by two women. Why does that not surprise me? Kate Street and Bridget Robilliard focused on the idea of the old becoming new and put together a relaxed, blokey space complete with a dart board. A closet dart enthusiast, The Landscaper was smitten for the second time.

And I was taken with "Revolutionising Re-use", not only an appropriate theme for a Christchurch garden but close to my own heart for its use of, well, junk. There were handmade glass surfaces, herbs in recycled wine bottles, and a lovely old piano - a fantastic idea for a covered outdoor space.

The Sustainable Schoolyard was another stand-out, and how could you not love the rainwater recycling system, which directed water from the spouting through a downpipe of adjoining plastic bottles into two water tanks topped with trays of pumice.

From there, a mechanical pump powered by an enthusiastic cyclist on an old bike delivered water to the garden. The bike demonstrated permaculture at its best, working as a power source, a piece of sculpture and, for me, an exercycle. Perfect.

- Hamilton News

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