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Our spring theme for 2017 is HortCouture offering a celebration of style in the home, the garden and even the wardrobe!

The Christchurch Connection

Award-winning Christchurch costumier and artist Jenny Gillies combines her love of gardens and flowers to create a truly fabulous range of floral gowns, each one uniquely crafted and a true work of art.

We are delighted to host Jenny’s first exhibition outside Australasia, featuring her wonderful creations and epitomising the very best in HortCouture.

A former microbiologist, Jenny started making costumes 20 years ago after a sunflower hat she made was spotted at the races and she was commissioned to make more. She has gone on to produce costumes for theatre, film and opera, and has won many awards for her wearable art.

Her work has been featured at the Royal Adelaide Show in Australia and the World of Wearable Art Awards and Ellerslie International Flower Show in New Zealand. It is currently on display at Christchurch Botanical Gardens to mark the reopening of the historic Tea Kiosk following the devastating earthquakes of 2011.

It takes Jenny up to three months to complete her fantastic costumes, some of which require over 70 metres of fabric and miles of thread. 

You can find Jenny's exhibition, The Christchurch Connection, in The Gardening Hall. She will also be giving a talk about her work each day of the show at 1pm in the Dig It Garden Theatre, Plant Pavilion.

Photographs by Neil Macbeth

The Green Room

Imagine plumping up a beautiful flower-filled cushion, relaxing on a cool, mossy armchair and admiring cutting edge ‘living’ wallpaper.

The Green Room is designed to turn your concept of a living space inside out as we look at creating furniture, furnishings and even wall coverings from flowers and plant material.

Each element has been painstakingly populated with a variety natural materials to demonstrate what you might be able to achieve if you decided to plant your own sofa!

A floral flair for fashion

In tribute to the trailblazers of modern haute couture, this year’s fantastic large scale floral art display will also focus on four of the world’s most famous houses of fashion – Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Versace and Vivienne Westwood.

The spring show hosts Britain’s biggest exhibition of floral art and, as part of the HortCouture theme, teams from four NAFAS areas will offer their own unique interpretation on the work of each fashion icon. Meanwhile, floristry colleges from across the country will be conjuring up their unique take on a floral bonnet - using real cars!

You can also expect to be wowed by a dramatic display of ‘living couture’ as part of a spectacular plant nursery showcase, plus style-led activities including talks by trend-setting designers and practical advice on How2 introduce HortCouture in the garden at home.