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Local mentors now available to advise Ellerslie Exhibitors

10 June 2008

Two Christchurch-based landscape and design experts Rachel Vogan and Dan Rutherford are now available to provide advice and support for exhibitors at next year’s Ellerslie International Flower Show.

Exhibitor Mentor Rachel Vogan, who has been a judge at the last five Ellerslie Shows, is a self confessed ‘plant-aholic’ who will be offering support and guidance in garden design and on plant selection and sourcing. She has long supported the event being relocated to the Garden City.

“I think Christchurch can deliver a lot of new and exciting designs for the show,” Rachel says.

“It’s critical that designers plan ahead to ensure they can source the best quality plants to produce medal winning gardens. I want them to know they have someone to come to for a chat and to ask any questions.”

Design Mentor Dan Rutherford welcomes the opportunity to share his expertise with exhibitors as they respond to the challenges of designing an exhibition garden. The Cantabrian has gardened all his life, starting his first garden design and construction business in 1993.

“Designing exhibition gardens will provide an exciting challenge for first-time exhibitors, and I’m looking forward to guiding them through the process,” Dan says.

“When you design for a landscape, you have to consider how the place will look not only now, but five or even fifty years from now. Exhibition gardens have to look their best right from the beginning, but they only have to be maintained for a few days.”

Exhibitors will have the opportunity to meet the mentors at an exhibitor evening at the Arts Centre on 11 June.

The evening, the first of five planned in preparation for the Show, will give registered exhibitors the opportunity to meet show planners and other participants, and share information on creating a successful exhibit.

“Having access to Rachel and Dan’s wealth of expertise will be a huge benefit for exhibitors,” says Ellerslie International Flower Show’s Exhibition Manager Kate Hillier.

“We have a long history of mentoring in design and horticultural skills, and having these two experts who are willing to share their talents with our Christchurch exhibitors is a natural continuation of that tradition.”

Those who are interested in exhibiting at next year’s show but are concerned they have missed the deadline to apply are also welcome to attend. “As long as a potential exhibitor can show us they can reasonably achieve their plans in the timescale available, we may be able to adjust deadlines,” says Hillier.

About the Mentors

Rachel Vogan has more than 20 years experience in the nursery and garden industry, working in numerous sectors from growers and nurseries to retailers and landscapers. She lectured on Horticulture at Christchurch Polytechnic for three years, has been widely published as a freelance garden writer and journalist, and hosts a weekly gardening talk back radio show on NewstalkZB.

Currently the Vice President of the NZ Nursery and Garden Industry Association, Rachel has judged at the Ellerslie International Flower Show, the Adelaide Rose Festival and at numerous local garden events and festivals. She is the Director/Editor of the web site and owns the horticultural and marketing company The Daisy Chain.

Dan Rutherford has established a reputation as one of the best known designers and sculptors in Canterbury. He is well regarded for his large kinetic sculpture work, and specialises in its integration in landscape designs. With more than 15 years of creative and landscaping experience, his work can be found in both gardens and galleries throughout the country.

A member of the Landscape Industries Association of New Zealand, Dan has received various national awards for landscape construction and design. He has taught trade stand design at Lincoln University and been called upon to speak at a number of specialist seminars. His appearances on shows such as Ground Rules, Maggie’s Garden Show and What Now have allowed Dan to share his design philosophy with audiences around the country.


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