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Christchurch designer’s growing hope
Dan (pictured with his multi award-winning Ellerslie garden from 2009) is a previous gold medal and Supreme Lighting Award winner. This year he joins international lighting expert Andrew Frazer, to create his third garden in the Christchurch International Airport Starlight Marquee.
He says he is more excited about his new exhibit than previous entries.
“It is going to be dynamic, interesting and will really capture the imagination of visitors to the show... it’s going to be awesome.”
The garden has been designed to help Christchurch residents reconnect and form a new trust with the land following the recent earthquake.
As a geologist and gardener, Dan says it’s important for residents of the affected region to get their hands back into the soil to help rebuild trust in the city’s strength and stability.
“We need to learn how to adapt to our new perspective and accept the challenges that face this city,” he says. “The ruins of our city are the building blocks of our future and we need to rebuild afresh – strong, lightweight, stable and organic. We need to get our hands into the dirt... Gardening is a big part of our healing process.”
‘Fresh Start – New Growth’ has a ruined wall running longitudinally through the middle of the garden, representing the buildings that have fallen.
“What was once strong, stable and unchanging has been ripped apart,” Dan says. “The garden that surrounds it is has grown up and over the wall, representing the people of Christchurch as they grow, adapt and learn to thrive in their new environment.
“Tiny native plants spread over the landscape, learning to grow and thrive in the new environment, offering new hope, as does the water misting over the garden, supporting new life.”
Dan says water in the garden is like tears, recognising the city’s grief while, at the same time, washing it away to cleanse the environment and enable the city’s gardens to grow.
Two large screens also cut across the garden flashing up images, thoughts and ideas about the past and hopes for the city’s future. Thousands of lights are integrated into the design, nestled among the foliage to represent the people who have helped Christchurch.
The award-winning designer says Ellerslie will be even more special this year as it embraces and helps define the future of the region.