Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Ellerslie Show: Embracing nature in a redeveloped Christchurch

Embracing nature in a redeveloped Christchurch - Landcare Research at Ellerslie International Flower Show

Christchurch residents’ desire for a greener central city inspired Landcare Research to design an Ellerslie International Flower Show exhibit that showcases some of the possibilities. Prior to human settlement, Christchurch had a wealth of native plants and wildlife. We now have the opportunity to restore some of what has been lost; intergrating people, nature and functionality in the redevelopement of Christchurch.

Entitled ‘Transitions – from broken city to new beginnings embracing nature and history’, the Landcare Research exhibit features a shop frontage, with green roof and living wall, looking out onto a pocket park, an attractive way of bringing nature into the confined spaces of a central city. A green roof reduces stormwater run-off, provides energy savings through the insulating effect of the growing medium and plants, is unaffected by UV, provides a habitat and food for insects, lizards, plants and birds, moderates the urban heat island effect, and muffles noise within the building.

Because of the low rainfall, Christchurch doesn’t have as many green roofs or living walls as some other New Zealand cities. But, the display will demonstrate examples that work based on our research into appropriate plants and substrates for the local Christchurch environment.

A demonstration water treatment train – a scaled down version of what has been proposed for the city – is included in the garden. As Christchurch has grown, the amount of impervious surface area such as roofs and car parks that channel water straight into the stormwater system has increased. The water treatment train will demonstrate how plants and substrates can be used to detain, filter and reduce the amount of stormwater and suspended contaminants that flow into the drains and waterways.

Be prepared for surprises and challenges; ours is not a traditional Ellerslie Flower Show exhibit but we have created something that is interesting and provocative.

The "Transitions" garden won Gold and the Supreme Award for Horticultural Excellence