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Grow again next year

Following the success of the inaugural Grow Ōtautahi, event organisers have announced 2022 dates for the popular Christchurch Garden Festival.


Grow will return to the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, with entry still free to everyone, over three days from March 18 to 20 next year.

Festival Director Sandi MacRae says excitement is already building around the 2022 festival, with sponsors and visitors to the 2021 event sharing their favourite parts of the show and coming up with new ideas for next year.

“We were absolutely thrilled to welcome approximately 25,000 guests to the festival in March this year. Feedback has been so encouraging, and we are now in full planning mode, with the aim of bringing a bigger and better festival to the people of Christchurch.”

She says the organisers want to build on the community, education and sustainability aspects of the show for 2022.

The charitable trust behind the festival has a long-term vision for Grow that aims to see it expand into the central city using other venues and city restaurants to share what is great about growing in Christchurch.

Keep an eye on the Grow website for more details as planning continues throughout the year. Visit


Artistic garden additions: Grow Landscapes

A garden is a home’s oasis, it is a tranquil place to experience the art and wonder of nature and science. As industry experts, Grow Landscapes & Lifestyle know all about this – and also stock an impressive and unmatched range of water features and pots to elevate your natural habitat.



Bhuddas, urns, bowls, tiered waterfalls and infinity designs are amongst the impressive array of water features on show at Grow’s Moorhouse Avenue store.

The artistic and sophisticated designs showcase craftsmanship from Vietnam and Bali, with designs made from a range of natural and man-made materials like concrete, fibreglass and cement.

“Water features are our speciality,” says the showroom manager. “We have more than 25 models on display all working. We carry many different sizes and styles in a range of colours – there really is everything you can imagine.”

A recent arrival of concrete designs from Bali has proved especially popular during the summer, and there are still a number of items in store. Special orders can also be made.

Water features can be delivered and installed by Grow’s team, or it is a simple process for customers themselves. All that is needed is a level surface, water supply and 240-vault power supply. In most cases many homes will have an outdoor power supply, otherwise an electrician can install one.

Aside from water features, Grow‘s vast range of pots cater to gardens and outdoor areas of all shapes and aesthetics.

The store have everything you can imagine.

Lightweight fibreglass and cement models are especially popular, as are rectangular troughs, and shallow and dish planters – some up to 2m wide – which are an option for showcasing special plants like Cloud Trees.

These come in black, white, coffee bean brown, cement colour, glazed, and glazed terracotta.

Aside from these garden adornments, Grow has been working in Christchurch for more than 10 years with a team of 13 landscapers.

In more recent times, its artificial lawn has become a very popular option – with many customers reporting back how many compliments they are getting on their “healthy, luscious-looking lawns.”

Pop into Grow Landscape & Lifestyle at 69 Moorhouse Avenue from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday or 10am to 4pm Saturdays, call to discuss the range on (03) 365 9945, or check out the website below.


Every garden needs a focal point: Grow Landscapes

Every landscape architect through time has wanted to ensure a garden’s design has a focal point, no matter the size of the space.


Creating that focal point for your garden is as simple as a visit to Grow Landscape & Lifestyle at 69 Moorhouse Avenue, where you’ll find a vast range of garden art, water features, pots, troughs and urns that can instantly brighten up an outdoor patio or backyard.

The range instore now includes large sandstone-coloured urns on plinths, and two new unique water features in sandstone and terracotta colours.

Following the latest gardening trends, they also have fibre cement troughs in stock at Grow Landscape & Lifestyle, available in shades of black and white, and coffee bean colour.

They are ideal for screening plants, or as vegetable and herb gardens, so check them out now before new-season planting begins.

You’ll also find a fantastic range of large, shallow bowls which look great planted with anything from a Kaizuka “cloud tree” to succulents and seasonal colour.

‘Atlantis pots’ are a popular choice this Winter and are available in a great range of colours with a textured pebble look.

The elegant range of Tau fibreglass pots also continue to be popular with their seamless hand-finished black or white surfaces.

Other trend-setting items include artificial indoor plants that look so realistic visitors regularly try to determine if they are or not.

They are proving to be very popular for both the home and business.

They continue to look fabulous with no care or attention and are available in sizes to suit any spot in the home, patio or office space.

Grow Landscape & Lifestyle offer a full range of landscaping services from decking and fences, to driveways and paving.

They also specialise in lawns, instant lawns and the increasingly popular artificial turf.

The talented team of 12 staff are the experts in all aspects of landscaping, and are passionate about helping you to achieve excellent, professional results in your garden.

If you need advice on a specific project, are looking for that perfect design feature for your garden, or are searching for inspiration, pop in and visit Grow Landscape & Lifestyle at 69 Moorhouse Avenue, Christchurch today.

The store is open Monday to Fridays from 9am-5pm, and Saturdays from 10am-4pm (closed Sundays). For more information, phone 03 365 9945 and email


Get your gardening on

What’s flourishing in the gardening world in 2020? From supersized houseplants to 80s flower inspiration, we give you the rundown on some of the coolest gardening developments expected to blossom over the coming year.

Super-sized species

2020 – the year of the houseplant? It’s no surprise that these indoor beauties are top of the list, but this year sees super-sized greenery take centre stage in many homes.

Forget the small decorative plants and modest, lonely aloe vera – it’s all about bigger, bolder species. Increase the health benefits of greenery by making a statement with showstopping varieties like the giant-leafed alocasia, the deep green monstera and the fiddle-leaf fig.

Don’t totally discount your miniature favourites, though – horticulturists predict 6-9cm plants will remain popular.


Your garden should always be a place of peace and purpose.

With environmental welfare at the forefront of many minds, what better way to take advantage of your outdoor space than sustainably sourcing your own fruit and veges?

Herbs, beans and peas are still high on the agenda this year, alongside highly nutritious microgreens, chillies, legumes and soybeans.

Sit back and reap the rich rewards of a fruitful vege garden; like fresh organic food and a reduced weekly grocery spend – not to mention the satisfaction that comes with it.

Add a creative touch to your food with edible flowers, flavour a cocktail with homegrown herbs or berries, or whip up a fresh vegetable salad, all with the fruits (literally!) of your labour.

Bug-friendly backyards

The new decade is all about being kind to wildlife thanks to growing concern over the catastrophic decline in insects and the overall impact of this on the environment.

In 2020, overgrown gardens teeming with wildlife take the top spot over neatly manicured lawns, as gardeners ditch pesticides and promote pollination.

Dubbed ‘rewilding’, the trend has sparked interest in outdoor spaces with a more natural aesthetic, which incorporate eco-friendly gardening concepts such as bee hotels, wildlife ponds, log piles, pollen-rich plants and compost heaps.

Plastic-free gardening is also a hot topic; consider using compostable plant pots made from rice husk and sustainable wood and bamboo fibres over wasteful black plastic ones.

80s flower power

The wild and beautiful blooms of the 80s are having a well-deserved revival with nemesias and diascias front of the line.

Not only do these pretty flowers offer a compact size, long flowering period and sweet scent that attracts bees and butterflies, they’re also incredibly flexible supporting plants that can be grown at the edge of any basket, bed or pot.

Expect to see a wider range of these beauties as new breeding programmes produce sensational colour schemes such as ‘berries and cream’.


From garden to plate

A dozen renowned chefs, a mystery box cooking challenge using local and garden-picked ingredients, a bespoke outdoor kitchen and a locally grown ‘picking pantry’, Grow Ō Tautahi Food Ambassador Jax Hamilton is inspiring visitors to look to their gardens to ignite their cooking.


Jax will run the MacRae Landscape Design Garden Kitchen over the three days of Grow Ō Tautahi – Christchurch’s free Garden Festival in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens from 20-22 March 2020.

Each day of the festival, four new chefs will be challenged to create culinary delights from a mystery box of fresh, vegan or vegetarian ingredients – no meat or fish – and what they can pick themselves from surrounding gardens.

Visitors will glimpse into the creative minds of professional chefs and take away ideas and inspiration for their own dinner plates.

“You really don’t need a lot of space to grow a few herbs and ingredients that can put a ping on your plate,” Jax says.

“I want to share my food philosophy of ‘straight from your garden to your table’. A lot of the time we don’t know where our food comes from – but with a little inspiration I think we can encourage a healthier approach to cooking.”

Jax will lead the cooking demonstrations and help audiences engage with top chefs from around Christchurch and the South Island.

“All of our chefs will cook in a bespoke outdoor kitchen designed by the award-winning Davinia Sutton – we’re so lucky to have her involved; she has a real sparkle, like so many people around the Grow table.”


A growing passion

Wildly successful home design blogger Julia Atkinson-Dunn recently developed a green-finger. We caught up with Julia about her growing passion.



You started NZ’s very first – and wildly successful – design blog in 2008 before going through a bit of an evolution. How did you first catch the gardening bug?

I had always been a flower lover (and roadside thief!) but not at all tempted to grow my own garden beyond a house plant or two.

The exact moment gardening entered my life was three years ago when I saw the impressive, stacked vegetable beds in the backyard of our Linwood home-to-be.

I realised then and there that I would have to ‘grow things in it so it looked good’.

I think the turning point was the fact this garden wasn’t going to be rented, but instead a place I could transform to enjoy for the future!

As I got going, pestering my poor mum to answer all my questions, I slowly realised that gardening was a natural and welcome extension of my passions for design and decorating, in perhaps the most satisfying form of it all!

I think that my experience is pretty common of a lot of first-home buyers now, that’s why I wanted to get involved with the Grow Ō Tautahi Garden Festival and share what I’m learning.

How excited are you about being the Beginner Gardener Ambassador for the new Grow Ō Tautahi – Christchurch Garden Festival launching in March 2020 and what will your role involve?

Incredibly excited on so many levels!!! It’s such a thrill to be involved in an innovative, vibrant Canterbury event and even more so to have a public opportunity to source wisdom for all those local people out there who have shared a similar gardening adventure to me.

During the Grow Ō Tautahi festival, I will be running a series of panels on stage (free to attend) aimed specifically at helping beginner gardeners.

Here I will invite local gardeners and experts to impart specific advice to answer our questions around getting started, troubleshooting and those tricks and tips that you can’t google!

Where do you start when it comes to making heads and tails – or roots and leaves – of everything gardening?

The BEST source is a friendly gardener. I’ve discovered that gardeners are eager sharers and helpers and they can really help you on your way.

Honestly, it’s highly likely if you knocked on a neighbour’s door with a garden you love that they will come to wander yours armed with advice and maybe even plants!

Second to this, the Yates Garden Guide, which has been in print for nearly 80 years, is packed with so much valuable information relevant to our differing growing conditions in NZ.

It’s like the beginner’s bible and can support you as you get going and give you a resource to fill in the gaps after a googling session!

Or come along to Grow Ō Tautahi in March to hear ideas and talk with expert gardeners as part of my beginner gardener panels!

You are also welcome to follow me on Instagram/Facebook or read my blog posts sharing the snippets that I learn along the way too! @studiohomegardening


  1. Read the labels and do your research. If a plant requires full sun they aren’t kidding! The result is either plants growing horizontal to the ground searching for the sun OR simply not growing much at all.
  2. Dedicate yourself to watering or invest some time and money into an irrigation system – staying on top of this has been key for me!
  3. Muster up some patience. There is no beating Mother Nature on how quickly things will grow and if the weather suits. With that said, don’t simply revert to an “easy care” garden, it is astonishing how time flies and in no time you will have flowers blooming!
  4. Get a grasp on the plant types – perrenials, annuals, biennials etc. Having a basic understanding of plant life cycles will save you a lot of time and money in the long run! This will also help you build a plan for a garden that has interest all year round.
  5. Give yourself a break! Often as adults we don’t start learning new things from scratch, so allow yourself time to come to grips with it all. The actual process of learning, getting your hands dirty, researching bug problems and harvesting is as important as the atmosphere you are trying to create.