Kapiti designer wins again at Ellerslie

JOEL MAXWELL
Last updated 12:57 27/02/2014
Umbrella garden

Winning construction: Ben Hoyle in his exhibition garden at Ellerslie

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Kapiti garden designer Ben Hoyle has again clinched a major award at the Ellerslie International Flower Show.

On Tuesday night Hoyle was announced the Supreme Construction Award winner for the garden Under My Umbrella based on his experiences during Christchurch's earthquake three years ago.

Hoyle told the Kapiti Observer he would be taking family members of people killed in the earthquake for a special tour of the exhibit.

Christchurch City Council had also made tentative inquiries about keeping Under my Umbrella after the show as a temporary installation, he said.

"Under My Umbrella refers to the umbrella canopy [in the exhibit], and that's a reflection of my experiences in 2011 when I was building a garden and the quake happened. The most noticeable thing that first happened after the shaking stopped was the huge influx of people from the CBD into Hagley Park, where we were."

The exhibit was about people seeking sanctuary with one another - people "coming together to shelter one another", he said

He was stoked for the about-15 member team that put in a "massive effort" creating the exhibit in the fortnight leading up to the show.

"There's quite a huge structural component with the floating canopy, the huge water sculpture and the curved walls. It was quite a feat of engineering, which obviously impressed the judges."

He said the fortnight lead-in to the show was a "very compressed" time frame for starting a garden from scratch.

"There's continual layers that keep adding to, and embellishing, the space, until I think it was two hours till the judging when we finally had the scaffolding tower pulled down." The exhibit is still in the running for the People's Choice Award, which will likely be announced on Saturday. Under My Umbrella also won a silver distinction award.

Last year Hoyle scooped his fifth gold medal at the event for his garden A French Kiss in Akaroa.

In 2012 Hoyle won a gold medal and the People's Choice Award at the show for his garden She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not.

This year a horticultural exhibit called Burn after Reeding won the judges' Supreme Award.

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- Kapiti Observer

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