Refresh your spirit, feed your soul

After the summer’s trials of cool weather and lack of rain, my tomatoes are still not ripe and I have had to rescue the wilting hydrangeas on more than one occasion. So where else after this indifferent summer in the garden should I go but to the delights of the Ellerslie Flower Show to refresh my spirit.

Cover of the Ornamental Edible GardenNow is the time to remind ourselves that gardening is not all work and no play, but rather a chance to create a place for our own enjoyment. As the summer draws closer to its end we can sit back and take time to enjoy the spoils of our labour.

All that work weeding, staking and deadheading is to create a place of beauty where we can take time to rest and recuperate at the end of a busy week. The Ellerslie garden designers have created plenty of those places that make the spirit soar and imagination take flight.

Every small patch of ground can become an urban utopia for your sensual delight and a little knowledge can go a long way, so I have taken to browsing the library shelves for inspiration for my own little plot. Could my vegetable and herb garden be a visual delight like the potager at the Curator’s House in the Botanic Gardens?

Or my deck showcase hypertufa pots decorated with rescued broken china? Ideas for creative planters, pots and bird baths abound in the landscaping and DIY sections of the library, and give you the practical nous to fulfill your dreams of what might be. Never mind that my herb garden has already had two attempts at redevelopment and the ingredients for hypertufa have been languishing in the garage for several years!

I have found more inspiration in our Zinio online gardening magazines.

Cover of Gardening AustraliaCover of Homes & GardensCover of The Kitchen Garden

Do you have any garden projects planned this autumn? What projects are languishing in your garden shed? Have you tried Zinio magazines yet?

Find out more about the Ellerslie Flower Show and garden resources here and view our flickr photos of previous Ellerslie shows.

I went to The Garden Show and all I got was this ninja garden tool

I’m just resting my feet after a pretty full day at the Ellerslie International Flower Show . If you are planning to go I can say that it seemed to be pretty relaxed, no major queues and lots of effort into keeping people happy – places to sit, places to eat, lots of shade – as well of course as the offerings on show.

It is my first time at Ellerslie so I can’t compare it to last year but I did like the Sculpture Garden which meanders under the pine trees by Victoria and Albert Lakes and includes statues in the lake itself. Of the garden displays I saw, I really enjoyed the modern efforts such as The last laugh by Andy Ellis and Danny Kamo and Finding Solace in the Sky by Cameron McLean, Desmond Stock and Gareth Ford. The last laugh has been awarded Gold and Finding Solace Silver.

Nature and sustainability were to the fore in many displays. Sustainability with Style from Soil and Health Canterbury and The Good Gardeners Association caught my eye. The Student Designers section was a delight with the winner being The Labyrinth by Katie Hilford.

In my experience, garden shows are good for buying plants and tools and accessories that you find yourself persuaded to buy by spruiking salespersons – the ratchet loppers and pruners are a classic example. The best thing I ever got was a Japanese gardening tool that looks like something out of a Ninja’s arsenal. I still have it and it is invaluable for weeding and planting. This time I’m ashamed to say no gardening gizmos but fudge and cheap merino gear!

Other things I really liked were Craig Pocock’s 0800 POOL HIRE garden using dumpsters and mini skips, Bush Telly, Carl Pickens, Te Waipounamu Garden and City Self sufficiency with Lynda Hallinan.

Around town shops have been decorating their windows. I love the window display at Smiths Bookshop in New Regent Street.

Once the excitement is over there is time to go back to our libraries at your leisure and explore our wonderful gardening resources which will surely feed your inspiration. Books, DVDs and magazines on landscaping, growing, using and visiting gardens to delight.  Associated with Ellerslie is a programme of garden tours. If you can’t make the tours you can still savour many famous gardens through our library resources

Bargain hunters should turn up to the big plant sell off on Sunday at the end of the show.

Are you going to Ellerslie this year – do you have any particular displays you are keen to see?