Within minutes of walking around the Ellerslie Flower Show it became obvious that plants really do give back. The natural beauty, fragrant floral scents and vibrant colours created an almost idyllic setting for visitors to enjoy. Everyone from the regulars to the first timers all looked relaxed, happy and peaceful.
“I’m 83 and despite my average health, my girlfriends and I always make every effort to come to the flower show” said Patricia of Timaru. When asked why she quipped “To be surrounded by beautiful gardens, pretty flowers and incredible designs just lifts your spirits. I feel far more chipper for weeks after visiting. I just wish I could work out how to download the photos on my camera!”
The highlight of the show had to be ‘Passion’ by Sally Brown and the team at Blueskin Nurseries. The Feature Garden was a floral symphony, with over 100 varieties of pink coloured plants. Literally thousands of plants were grown for this garden, making it stand out from others due to the abundance of beautiful flowers.
The gardens provided a stark contrast to the building and redevelopment surrounding Hagley Park, years on from the Christchurch Earthquakes. Gardening can act as therapy for people who have undergone trauma. The act of nurturing something is a way for people to work through the issues surrounding traumatic events and improve their mental health.
Some people were lucky enough to purchase plants from the show on closing day. Maureen from Christchurch was particularly pleased with the plants she gained. “Some flowers will be cut and placed in a vase, whilst others will be potted and/or added to my garden to provide a fresh supply of flowers for the local hospitals and hospices which I donate to them.”
Research shows plants help people heal quicker. The presence of plants in hospital recovery rooms and/or views of aesthetically-pleasing gardens help patients to heal faster, due to the soothing effects of ornamental horticulture. In Canada ‘healing gardens’ are becoming features of new built hospitals.
So, if you’re feeling down, do a spot of gardening or go for a walk through your local parks and gardens. Remember to take only photos and leave only footprints. Then these valuable green spaces and plants can continue to give back in more ways than we ever imagined.
Sally Brown's Passion