During my visit to the inaugural NZ Flower and Garden Show earlier this week I got chatting to a chap standing beside a garden and quickly realised it was the site planned by inmates from Paremoremo Prison in Auckland.
The men, with the help of designer Adam Shuter, had grown the plants (all natives), welded the sculptures, woven 8000m of twine for the lovely seat, and created the striking 3D head sculptures … but the only way they were going to see it was via video. The Corrections Department and NZFGS kindly provided two whanau tickets per inmate so at least family members had the chance to have a look.
Auckland Prison manager industries David Grear was my informant at ‘Redemption’ and you can read more about the development of the garden here. The use of Monopoly-type posters in the garden was at once both witty and rather sad. As I said to David, I’m never likely to visit a prison, I don’t know what’s available to inmates or how they system runs – the garden was, in a way, the prison coming to me. And I was rather impressed.
One of the other gardens that gave me great joy was by Kiwi designer Bayley LuuTomes and South African designer Leon Kluge, ‘Trouville: Something Lovely Discovered by Chance’ (they also teamed up to represent New Zealand at the 2016 Singapore Garden Festival, winning Gold and Best in Show for its outdoor lighting).
The garden won a Gold medal and a Design Excellence award.
This extensive garden had a bit of everything, yet felt a harmonious whole. From soft ‘wildflowers’ planted on parts of the sloping grass sides, to the shipping container-like cabin with its origami-like exterior walls, and the maple-surrounded pool the garden was enchanting. My only criticism is that the pool area could be fully appreciated only from inside the cabin, which was off-limits to the general public but (ahem) not to this member of the media (I do it for you, dear readers)! Follow me in …
Australian designer Christian Jenkins was on the phone when I asked to enter his Balinese-style garden, ‘Nature and Nurture’ so his mum gave me the nod. The bonus about being inside was seeing the reflections in the black-water pool (years ago Ben Hoyle told me he used coffee grounds to create his black water for show gardens). And how great that among the palms he used was our very own nikau palm.