Rachel Vogan & Sandi MacRae, CHS Board & Autumn Garden Show

And what a show it was, with three days of superb weather and the best possible venue in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, the CHS can be very proud of this year’s event.

A record number of people attended, with numbers exceeding 14,000, our target had been what we thought was an aspirational figure of 10,000 and we nearly reached that on the second day. The figures totally prove that if you build something amazing people will come. At the welcome function numerous local dignitaries and sponsors and exhibitors were welcomed and shown around the event, the feedback from them was humbling, they all seemed highly impressed to see an event of this scale created in such a short period of time.

This year the CHS needed to put its best foot forward, to demonstrate what can be produced by being innovative and brave enough to take a risk on building a larger event on a bigger scale. The collaboration between club members of groups and societies and commercial businesses was amazing, the hum of happiness was evident throughout the show.

Vicki Buck, CCC councillor commented saying “Awesome job Rachel, Sandi and Karen, you did brilliantly. Location superb, mix of activities great. Looking forward to bigger event next year, but right now you guys should just take a massive bow. Congrats too to the Horticultural Society for being bold” 

The show featured 23 different exhibitors from landscape architects and designers through to garden clubs, societies, community garden organisations, plant expert groups and horticultural companies. Children were a focus, with a dedicated area where they were immersed in colouring in activities in return for a free pot plant, plus a sand pit digging for treasure treat. Local garden club members, created a record 202 fresh floral posies. Show goers were excited to see new plants and innovative planting combinations too.

Visitors were greeted by delightfully costumed Jenny Gillies models, they were handed a program and welcomed to the event. Each afternoon visitors were able to watch a performance from the renowned fabric artist, which the crowds just flocked too. Wafts of fresh food also tickled the senses when the cooking demonstrations took part.

Some special thanks must go to Terra Viva Home and Garden as the principal partner of the show, the site beautification was world class. The Billy Goat Landscape Architecture exhibition was a crowd favourite, thank you to all your team for building such a top-notch garden. And a special mention must go to the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, the team that enabled us to produce this event were superb.

And to all of the people we got to work with, thank you, you and your energy made the show the success it was.

Rachel Vogan and Sandi MacRae, CHS Board & AGS