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May 22, 2006

High Hopes For Another Chelsea Gold
The BBC's gardening guru reckons New Zealand's garden at the Chelsea Flower Show could be a runner for a gold medal, but that will not be revealed until later in the day.

Tourism New Zealand's One-Hundred-Percent Pure New Zealand garden was unveiled in London overnight in drizzling rain and a chilly wind.

BBC presenter Wesley Kerr was in New Zealand earlier in the year to document the creation of the garden. In London last night, he praised designer Xanthe White for her efforts.

Mr Kerr says the garden is an incredible slice of New Zealand "brought brilliantly to life, which could possibly achieve a gold medal."

He says the Queen was likely to stop by and take a look when she visited the show last night. "She loves your plants, I think she'll love your garden," he said.

Mr Kerr also believes Prince Charles will be interested, as he is a keen gardener.

Mr Kerr suggests the site was not able to totally recreate the mountainous surroundings of the west Auckland bush and beach environment it is based on, because not enough height could be reached. But he says given the restrictions, the gardens works well, with the glass artworks and sculptured steel. He says the lancewood, pohutukawa and kauri trees are impressive.

Mr Kerr says a number of the plants died in transit but the quality of those remaining are in good condition which is important to the judges.

"It's a remarkable achievement to come 12,000 miles and produce a garden of this quality that so evokes the landscape of New Zealand, that has so many plants which people here won't have seen."

Mr Kerr says it is a hard garden to compare with others, because the plant material is so different and the design so innovative, but he says that is one of the reasons he believes it could very well be a contender for a gold medal.

The dignitaries at last night's unveiling of the New Zealand garden included Cabinet Minister Annette King; Mayor for Waitakere, Bob Harvey; New Zealand's representative in London Jonathon Hunt; and Tourism New Zealand CEO George Hickton.

Mayor Harvey is pleased with the garden, which is based on Karekare Beach in his region. He says in some ways, it reflects a Parliamentary bill the region is trying to push through, to keep the Waitakere Ranges and foothills untouched for future generations.

Annette King says the garden is a slice of New Zealand heaven in the centre of London

She says the New Zealand bush and beach design stands out amongst the traditional English gardens and the combination of water, native plants and the sculptures of shells and fern leaves are spectacular. She believes that if people look, listen and see what it is all about, the British will be very impressed.

George Hickton from Tourism New Zealand says the garden is bigger than New Zealand's gold award-winning effort in 2004 and also has a more contemporary edge.

Mr Hickton says the uniquely kiwi plants are unlike those in any other Chelsea garden.

The judges are now passing their verdicts on which gardens should win medals and the results will be known later today.
Visibility: Everyone
Posted: Monday May 22, 2006, 7:30 pm
Tags: show garden flower white london chelsea newzealand gardening xanthe [add/edit tags]

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Wendy A.
female, age 59, divorced, 2 children
Raglan, New Zealand
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