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Floral tribute to controversial fountain

22 December 2008

Since it was first erected in Christchurch’s Botanic Gardens in 1911, the Peacock Fountain has tended to court controversy. It has been labelled “a refugee from a confectioner’s nightmare” and its colour scheme has even been blamed for “causing flu-like symptoms when looked upon”.

Love it or hate it, the team at Christchurch’s Botanic Gardens will create a floral tribute to the ornate late Victorian fountain as part of the City’s entry in next year’s National Flower Bed Competition at the Ellerslie International Flower Show.


Christchurch won the inaugural National Flower Bed Competition in 2007 at the last Auckland-hosted Ellerslie International Flower Show and will be looking to retain this title in March 2009 when Christchurch hosts its first Ellerslie International Flower Show.


Christchurch Botanic Gardens Services Operations Team Leader Jeremy Hawker says Christchurch’s Garden City pride is at stake when the city hosts the Show next year.


“Christchurch won gold in 2007 and we are planning an equally award-winning exhibit in 2009.


“Our exhibit will be a stylised version of the fountain – complete with sculptures – and visitors can expect a garden packed with loads of flowers and lots of colour.”


He says the team is very excited about the plans for the 2009 garden – “and like in the past, we expect our ‘peacock fountain’ will continue to be controversial”.


“One thing for sure is the Botanic Gardens entry will not go unnoticed!”


The National Flower Bed competition has been modelled on the traditional flower bed competition by the Royal Horticultural Society of Britain and demonstrates the increasing importance councils and local authorities place on their surroundings.


Mayor Bob Parker threw down the gauntlet in May and challenged local authorities throughout the country to attempt to wrestle the title from Christchurch.


“Our neighbouring communities in Waimakariri, Akaroa and Ashburton have taken up the challenge which is fantastic.”


In 2007, Christchurch won with an elaborate floral bed depicting the region: ornamental lettuce Canterbury Plains, alyssum Southern Alps, petunia rivers and Pacific Ocean and a verbena City. The four main avenues of Christchurch were white verbena and hot air balloons floated over the bed.

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