Flowers return to the Square

19:54, Jan 24 2014

After a two-year absence, the Festival of Flowers is returning to its old home in Cathedral Square on February 8.

The last time the 25-year- old festival was in the Square it was disrupted by the February 2011 earthquake; now the organisers say they are back with an added mission - to help bring back cheer into the city's broken heart and to help those retailers who pioneered the return to the CBD.

Lisa Mills and Anahata Ishaya, the festival's only paid employees, are only too aware of the impact the quakes have had on local businesses.

The festival's hallmark event, the floral carpet in the cathedral, was its only source of income outside funds from the Christchurch City Council, The Canterbury Community Trust, Mainland Foundation and Pub Charities. However, the pair say that sponsership, in various forms, has been good this year.

The showpiece of this year's festival is the Chalice in the Square around which will be a 15-metre diametre flower garden designed by Oderings Nurseries' senior designer, Eiji Kawada.

Discovery 1 School, which before the earthquakes was based in the inner-city and used it as its playground, is also creating a garden in the Square.

These will be joined by the Oderings Archway, a Japanese garden and floral art. Extending out from these will be topiary animals in Re:Start Mall, floral bells about the inner-city, a major retrospective exhibition of 25 years of Festival of Flowers images in Latimer Square, and New Regent St will be decorated with flowers and hosts the start of an inner-city floral trail.

Other events include workshops, an art exhibition at CPIT curated by Warren Feeney; ethnic planted troughs at the Art Centre; a decorated zimmer frame, walking stick, mobility scooter and hat competition; and ReinCARnation, in which garden clubs turn old cars into a feast of flowers.

The Festival of Flowers runs from February 8 to March 2. Programmes are available at libraries and council service centres. Or go to


The Press