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Archives for March 5, 2013

Leadership Boise and similar programs are helping Valley companies function …

A hundred adults and high school juniors gathered around tables in a conference room at Hewlett-Packard Co.’s Boise plant, brainstorming new product ideas. Their task: Come up with something that solves a need for high school students and pitch it to a panel of three business people in a mock version of the ABC reality show “Shark Tank.”

Eleven people at Table 10 quickly focused in on a website that would link students with mentors of different professions, provide details about internships and help students find job-shadowing possibilities.

“Students are not given the opportunity to know what they would like to do as they go on,” says Alexa Wolfe, 16, a Boise High School junior, one of the 11.

Kristin Muchow, vice president of a Boise company that arranges corporate meetings and a tablemate of Alexa, agrees. “There are a lot of jobs out there that students don’t even know exist,” Muchow says.

Table 10 branded its product “What Now?” and walked away with first prize, besting nine competitors. The prize? A pat on the back from judges.

After the competition, Mason Fuller, CEO of Atlas Resell Management and one of the judges, said he liked Table 10’s originality. “All three of us love the idea of mentorships,” he said. He told the group he hoped they wouldn’t let go of their dream.

The whole exercise took a little more than an hour. For the adults, the event was among hundreds of hours they will spend over two years as part of their participation in Leadership Boise, a 38-year-old program sponsored by the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce.

During the program, Leadership adults will visit schools, go to medical facilties, spend a day at the Capitol or tour a prison.

“The hope at the root of it is for two years of experience, a different person emerges,” says Peter Barton, an attorney at Givens Pursley and an alum of Leadership Boise who is serving a one-year term as its president. “A person who has more understanding of the Valley, its businesses, its government and its nonprofit needs, and the way they can help.”

Leadership Boise draws participants from big companies like Idaho Power, small ones like Meeting Systems (Muchow’s company, which has five employees), and nonprofits like the Idaho affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

Half of Boise’s City Council – Lauren McLean, Ben Quintana and TJ Thomson – are Leadership Boise alumni.

Managers who must free an employee to attend say they get an enriched worker back after two years. Graduates often can bring a fresh approach to a company, managers say.

Participants say the program knocks them out of their work silos and exposes them to parts of the community they didn’t know existed.

More than 1,400 people have completed Leadership Boise since it started in 1975. Neighboring cities including Meridian, Nampa and Caldwell have similar programs. The Meridian Chamber of Commerce started its leadership program in 2004 and has graduated about 175 people. Nampa’s program is 18 years old with 600 graduates.

Classes in Boise’s program are small – about 50 people – and intentionally diverse to reflect big business, small business and nonprofit organizations, says Carrie Westergard, who oversees the chamber’s program.

Attending requires hours away from work. The group meets one day a month for much of the two years. The cost is $1,850 and is often paid by employers. Attendees or their companies must belong to the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, although they don’t have to live in Boise.

Getting in requires an application and an interview. Leadership Boise is looking for people who show a sense of engagement with the community or a previous community if they haven’t been in Boise long.

During the interview they are asked about their accomplishments, what they want to learn from the program and what they think they will contribute.

From 85 applicants in a typical year, Leadership Boise takes about 50. Admission is often affected by the chamber’s desire to keep the program from becoming over-represented by small or large businesses or nonprofit groups. Those who do not make it are encouraged to reapply the next year.

The chamber also oversees the Boise Leadership Academy, a group of about 50 high school juniors from the Boise-Meridian area. They occasionally work jointly with Leadership Boise, such as on the Shark Tank exercise at HP.


Pat Burton, 37, director of operations for St. Luke’s Eagle, an outpatient clinic, was well versed in health issues when she was accepted for Leadership Boise in 2011. She thought she knew more about her community. “I had lived here 20 years and considered myself active,” she says.

As she went through Leadership Boise, however, she discovered how little she really knew.

“I had never been to the Anne Frank Memorial,” she says, one stop on her reintroduction to Boise via the leadership program.

Nor did she know about the good things and the challenges the Valley faces in education.

But she learned as she met with educators such as Susan Williamson, principal at Boise School District’s Taft Elementary, and Roger Quarles, former Caldwell School District superintendent.

She met Williamson as part of Leadership Boise’s annual service project. Burton’s class chose to work on a community garden at Taft Elementary School near State and 36th streets. “We did some landscaping,” she says. The group also bought books for the school.

Fifteen years ago, Williamson took the then-troubled low-income school and turned it around by applying business-model principles, such as letting data drive decision-making and instruction.

A few years ago, Williamson had to prepare for bringing in refugee students from war-ravaged countries who spoke no English.

“My teachers and staff analyze what [they] need to do, change and get ready for those things,” Williamson says.

That made an impression on Burton. “To get to know people like Susan Williamson was amazing,” she says.

The same was true when she met Roger Quarles, then Caldwell School District superintendent, who talked to Leadership Boise about how most of the students who come to kindergarten in Caldwell aren’t ready for school. They aren’t familiar with numbers and struggle with reading skills.

In 2011, Caldwell Schools, with the help of United Way, the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation and other groups, started P16, which is aimed at getting preschool children into learning programs to help them succeed in school through college (grade 16).

Exposure to all those things got Burton to thinking about something she thought little about before. She has now become an ardent supporter of early childhood education, something she knows the Idaho Legislature has opposed, because many lawmakers believe that’s the job for families, although many business organizations support it. She is supporting the cause with her wallet, giving to programs in United Way that work toward early childhood education.

“You need to look at preschool [if] you want to make a difference,” Burton says.

Burton’s experience is what Leadership Boise tries for with every class. Expose participants to the community and see what happens.

“The world changes for 50 people,” says Barton, the president.


Muchow, the Meeting Systems executive, has increased her contacts list considerably since she started attending Leadership Boise.

She’s met 16-year-old students who instructed her on green energy and solar panels at the Boise School District’s Dennis Technical Education Center. She met a person who is an expert in social media and is already planning to go to lunch and learn more.

“I’ve connected with people who would be great keynote speakers,” she says.

And she’s picked up some business.

“I was able to get another client out of this, [so it] totally paid for itself,” she says.

Networking brings other benefits, too.

Hilarie Engle, 37, executive director of the Idaho Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, attended Leadership Boise in 2010-12 and learned some lessons about patience and listening.

“It brought together 50 different people – all different viewpoints,” she says “You learn to work with them.”

During the second year, first-year alums plan the program for students coming behind them. Engle found herself working with teams of six or seven people from banking, health insurance and other sectors whom she might never have met otherwise but who have since become friends.

Her sharpened listening skills have changed how she does her job. She tended to be a “stick-to-my-guns” sort of leader. Now, she says, she recognizes that the 15 volunteers on her race committee all have the same goal but may not all get there the same way.


Idaho Power Co. and Intermountain Gas typically send people to the program annually.

“We have seen people grow as a result of this program,” says Scott Madison, executive vice president and general manager of Intermountain Gas in Boise.

Bill Roberts: 377-6408, Twitter: @IDS_BillRoberts

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Bob Crowe on Bridgeton park project; Cumberland County Library; BEN Column … – The Bridgeton News

Short BEN column header.jpg



Phone: 856-451-1000, ext. 556

Cellphone: 856-237-6645

FAX: 856-455-3098

U.S. Army: RA13815980

The column that says if you want publicity for your organization, trying calling us.

Good morning!

Rain with snow likely Wednesday evening, then a chance of snow after midnight. Very windy with lows in the mid 30s. Chance of precipitation 80 percent.

If the storm track varies even a little bit, we could be in for it.

Accuweather says:

The snowstorm that is aiming for the mid-Atlantic coastal states this week has the potential to dump several inches of heavy, wet snow.

Following the snow, heavy winds will become a concern.

As the storm strengthens near the coast, winds will increase over New Jersey, Virginia and the Delmarva Peninsula.

More tree limbs could break and fall on power lines.

“Winds will be out of the northeast sustained at 25-35 mph with gusts to 50 mph,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Erik Pindrock.

The winds will increase Wednesday through Wednesday night and into Thursday morning.

Atlantic City, Ocean City, Md., and Norfolk, Va., are some of the cities than may be impacted by the winds.

Bob Crowe, the Bridgeton historian, updates us:

Bob Crowe.jpg



“I am waiting for the mayor to set the price of the memory bricks, and set up an account where the money will go so people can start to order them for the city park project.

“It has been too cold to work on our park landscaping project.

“We have two more projects in the making right now, but we have to get the details worked out first.

“One in the park and one a fun project maybe done on the Fourth of July.

“I will let you know as soon as I get them confirmed through the city.’’

— Bob Crowe

“P.S.: I will send you a 3D picture of the Veterans Monument as soon as we tweak it.’’

At the Cumberland County Library on Monday, March 18, at 1:30 p.m., Miss Melody will read “Grandpa Green’’ by Lane Smith.

The story is told by a boy about his grandfather. The boy tells the story of his grandfather’s life through the love of the garden.

The book is loaded with green.

St. Patrick’s Day has everything green.

Discussion about the color green will get the children thinking about all the things that are green in their world.

After the story, the children will hunt for the leprechaun’s gold.

They will each be given a green card with a place for each coin. When they reach five coins, they receive a prize.

All children’s programs are free and open to the public.

Cumberland County Library is located at 800 E. Commerce St. (Route 49), Bridgeton.

Call 856-453-2210, ext. 101 for further information.

“FEMA Region III is proud to be promoting National Severe Weather Preparedness Week March 3-9, 2013.

“During this week we are asking members of the community to Be a Force of Nature and better prepare for severe weather threats in our area.

“More information and ideas on how you can Be a Force of Nature can be found at Information on the different types of severe weather such as tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flooding is available at and or the Spanish-language web site’’


Perfect opportunity for Bridgeton Memory Lane on Facebook, 2,100 strong.

MY KIND OF TOWN: Where high winds bring fallen trees.

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Chairman of the alternative board


Jenny Chapman meets Andy Wilson of The Alternative Board and finds out how he landed from a high-flying career in banking.

You have an idea, a problem, some sort of issue. It keeps you awake at night and yet you can’t discuss it with your own board of directors, you just can’t.

This is one of the scenarios behind the formation of The Alternative Board, which is likely to be a group of up to eight chief executives, none of whom have any axe to grind with any of the others, or any commercial interest in each others’ enterprises.

It started in the US 21 years ago, and there has been a board running in the Cambridge area for the past year, with another due to start soon. The chairman is Andy Wilson, ex-high-flying banker turned entrepreneur and songwriter, who decided that life was too short not to have a good time as well as make a good living.

I meet Andy in Starbucks in Saffron Walden. He is a hard man to pin down at the moment, as he is visiting chief executives in and around Cambridge to find the perfect mix for the city’s second TAB.

He tells me how Allen Fishman, the American founder, started out in retail electronics. He was ambitious, got some venture capital investment and along with it some new board members. The business did well, floated on the New York Stock Exchange, and Allen retired at 45 with enough cash to last him several lifetimes.

But, like many a successful entrepreneur in Cambridge, he just couldn’t keep away from the coalface. He started writing for a local business magazine in his home town, which meant he got talking to a lot of small business people, and realised they needed what he had found when the VCs had come on board – the trouble was, these businesses were all too small to get that sort of attention.

“It was the objective advice he got that made him successful,” Andy says, “but most small businesses can’t afford the sort of fees charged by non-execs – I should guess in Cambridge around £1k a day.”

Allen found eight non-competing businesses in his town and brought them together once a month. Each was invited to bring their own particular challenges to the table, suggestions would be made to solve problems, and each of the members of the board would know that what they said around the table was totally confidential.

It worked so well that Allen found himself with a second big success story on his hands, with The Alternative Board spreading throughout the US, Canada and into South America. And, 21 years later, that same original board of eight still meets up once a month.

“An ex-colleague of mine from RBS met Allen and bought a licence to run the idea in the UK. That was two or three years ago and he set up in Harrogate.”

Andy, who spent 24 years in banking, rising to the top level, left to start his own business, Mezzo, in London. This was about hand-held tablets on aeroplanes for in-flight entertainment and had investment from Rolls Royce Corporate Ventures.

The business flew, reaching £4m turnover in two years: “Then disaster struck. Sixty percent of our business was with Maxjet, Silverjet and Excel Airways, and all three went bust within three months.”

Mezzo had enough cash to keep going, but had to downsize: “I had just hired someone who I thought was better than me, and I also decided that I wanted a work/life balance, and there was my other passion, music. I like song-writing and singing, folksy, Americana.

“Allen had seen that there were successful people who were happy with their lives and successful people who were not because they had not had a work/life balance, and knew they could not put the clock back.

“He said The Alternative Board had to be about working for what the business owner wants, and this has been a revelation to me, seeing how it is working on the board in Cambridge.

“One member in particular has found that their life is much more in balance, they see their children twice a week, whereas they didn’t see them at all before, and they have taken up some sport.

“No, I am not talking about lifestyle businesses, it is about the owner deciding what they want from life.

“Board members have said it is like being able to take their armour off. They can talk about issues that really matter. Often these might be quite small, but they are keeping them awake at night, and they don’t feel they can tell their own board what’s going on. It’s a lonely existence.”

Andy chairs the board at the monthly meetings and members are charged between £500 and £750 a time, depending of the size of their business. From this they also get mentoring from Andy on how to implement the ideas and suggestions put forward at the meetings to solve issues. And these can cover just about everything you could think of, hiring and firing, succession planning, cash flow.

The Cambridge board which has been going for a year includes a food manufacturer, a large local firm of accountants, a large local solicitors, an audio company and a recruitment business, plus a home interiors wholesaler.

The monthly meetings, which last four hours, rotate round members premises and everybody gets a chance to have their say every month.

“People get very close. Four years is the average membership.”

At the moment Andy is putting together the second Cambridge board and expects to visit up to 50 firms before finding the right mix.

“People either get it or they don’t,” he says. “I did a lot of networking to begin with, but I found that the people I was looking for, owners running businesses turning over between £500k and £10m, tend not to network as much as smaller businesses.

“The Alternative Board is not about networking. I’ll give you some examples of how it has helped members, how you can be more likely to get a ‘left field’ idea than you might from your own board.

“A member had just inherited a garden centre. He was a builder and didn’t know much about the garden centre business, which was not doing very well because of a housing slump, people were not spending on their gardens.

“One of the board asked whether it had to stay as a garden centre. In the end the business was converted to a landscape gardening business and nursery supplying the plants to the landscaping part, which fitted in very nicely with the builder’s developments.

“Another member of a board, who was leading a management buy-out, said it was great to have a lawyer and an accountant on The Alternative Board while she was going through the MBO.”

Andy says he really enjoys TAB, seeing the value members get from it, but, like Allen, he is not content with one business. His other enterprise is Livewire Rock Academy, which takes children from as young as six and gives them the chance to play electric instruments such as rock guitars, drums and keyboards. Groups meet in school and town halls once a week for jamming sessions in Saffron Walden, Bishop’s Stortford and Epping.

To get in touch with Andy, email

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The Long Beach Community Presents “In the Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy …


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Delco connection at the Philly Flower Show


Delco Sports Net

Allows community sports teams and leagues to share information about league news, game results, tryout and registration information, etc.

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Friends of Slidell Library auctioning books on backyard living, gardening

Friends of the Slidell Library is holding a silent auction of books concerning “Backyard Living and Gardening.” The auction ends March 18 at 6 p.m., and all bids must be placed in person at the Slidell Library, 555 Robert Blvd.

Important auction guidelines are posted on the bid book, available at the library circulation desk. High-bidders will be notified and must pick up items within seven days.

Questions may be submitted to

The items, and minimum bids, are as follows:

“A Dictionary of Useful Everyday Plants Their Common Names” ($11), “All About Creating Natural Landscapes” ($4), “All About Lawns” ($4), “America’s Garden Book” ($10), “Annuals” “Perennials” ($5 duo), “The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers: Eastern Region” ($4), “Backyard Problem Solver” ($6), “The Backyard Landscaper” ($4), “The Bird Feeder Book” ($4), “Building for the Lawn Garden” ($6), “Cockroach Combat Manual” ($3), “The Complete Book of Topiary” ($4).

“Decorating Your Garden” ($5), “Feng Shui for Gardens” ($4), “Garden Pools Fountains” ($4), “The Garden Planner” ($5), “Gardening in the Shade” ($5), “The Gardening Year” ($5), “Herbs” ($4), “HGTV Flower Gardening” ($5), “Home Landscaping: Southeast Region” ($4), “House Beautiful: Outdoor Living Gardens” ($6), “The Impatient Gardener” ($4), “Little Retreats” ($6), “Louisiana Gardener’s Guide” ($6), “Making Birdhouses” ($4), “New Complete Home Landscaping” ($9), “The New Small Garden” ($4).

“Organic Gardening” ($5), “Outwitting Squirrels” ($4), Petersen First Guides: “Insects” “Birds” ($4 duo), “Plans for Beds Borders” ($4), “Plants: More Than 100 Questions Answers” ($3), “The Pocket Guide to Trees” ($4), “Practical Gardening” ($4), “Projects for Outdoor Living” ($9), “Right Plant, Right Place” ($5), “Rodale’s Landscape Problem Solver” ($5), “The Romantic English Garden” ($4), “Roses” ($5), “Sharing Nature With Children” ($3), “The Shrub Identification Book” ($9), “Shrubs Climbers” ($4), “Simon Schuster’s Guide to Insects” ($4), “Simon Schuster’s Guide to Mushrooms” ($4).

“Simple Handmade Garden Furniture” ($4), “The Small Garden” ($5), “Solving Squirrel Problems” ($5), “Song Birds: How to Attract Them” ($4), “Southern Gardens, Southern Gardening” ($4), “Step-by-Step Shade Gardens” ($4), “Step-by-Step Yard Care” ($4), “Sunset National Garden Book” ($6), “Taylor’s Guide to Gardening In the South” ($4), “Trees of North America” ($4), “Trees of the World” ($4), “The Ultimate Container Gardener” ($9), “Wildflowers of the Big Thicket” ($16), “Zen Rock Gardening” ($3).

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Design your garden for fragrance all year long

You can find a fragrant plant that blooms almost any month of the year. I have picked out about a dozen or so plants that will grow in our climate and perfume the garden about each month of the year. Some of the plants I have chosen have pretty flowers, and some would be grown mainly for their fragrance. All of these possess a strong scent.

The cold gray days of January are brightened with the sweet fragrance of wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox). This is followed by Breath of Spring (Lonicera fragrantissima), which starts blooming at the end of January and continues for a month or more. Both are “old timey” shrubs that are not going to be the prettiest plants in the garden, but they might have the most fragrance.

Daphnea odora and Edgeworthia are two more shrubs that bloom in February and possibly into March. They perfume the air and are both blooming now.

Witch hazel, with its traditional clean sulfur-colored flowers, blooms early in the year and sends out a lovely scent. There are many varieties, adorned with yellow, copper or red flowers. Be sure to purchase one that is highly scented. The intensity varies, and I would not want you to be disappointed.

Viburnums are a large group of plants. Some varieties are extremely fragrant, while others are not. I have a viburnum “Mohawk” given to my by my daughter Laura that has a delightful clove scent, which I love.

Lilacs are a must have for the mountains. The aroma is delightful, and the flowers are stunning. There is a large bush on Highway 176 by a cow pasture near Saluda that I love to see each spring. It is tremendous in size and delightful to see in bloom.

It can be planted on the windy side of the house because it loves the air movement.

Moving on into summer, you have the magnolia grandiflora with their stunning white flowers, the quintessential Southern flower. I have one tree that blooms on and off well into fall. I love their shiny, dark green foliage that glistens in the winter. They have beautiful white fragrant flowers that make this a plant worth growing. Kevin Parris of Spartanburg, S.C., hybridized one called Kay Parris, my favorite. It has smaller leaves and does not grow as large as most magnolias, making it perfect for my Saluda garden.

Deciduous azaleas come into bloom at different times of the year, and many are very fragrant. I have some that bloom in March and April, and there are varieties that bloom in the summer. Azaleas are listed under the name Rhododendron, which can confuse people. R. alabamense, R. arborscens, R. atlanticum, R. austrinum, and R. canescens are all fragrant, and all have handsome flowers.

Walking through the garden in late summer, you can smell a sweet, sugary fragrance from Clethera alnifolia. There are several cultivars that are fragrant, but one of my favorites is a compact variety called “Hummingbird.” It has lovely white flowers, and mine is about 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide after about eight years.

Along the back stairs of our home, I have Elaegnus angustifolia planted. I love to descend the stairs and smell the wonderful fragrance in December. It is a bush that will seed about, and some claim it to be invasive, especially in warmer climates, but I have it planted and I love it, with its tiny flowers that are hidden among the leaves and fill the air with a pleasing aroma. Mine is trimmed into a hedge after it blooms, which helps with the seeding.

There are many other very fragrant plants such as oriental lilies, lavenders, lily of the valley, certain daffodils, certain roses. I tried to only mention shrubs and small trees. I do love fragrant plants, and I hope breeders will continue to keep the fragrance when they are making crosses and doing their breeding work.

In planning your fragrance garden, if possible, plant fragrant plants out of the wind, in a calm place where the fragrance is not whisked away. Arbors or fences or hedges can help hold the fragrance.

You should also consider having different fragrant plants that bloom at different times, or if they bloom at the same time, consider having them in separate parts of the garden, rather than having scents that could clash with each other.

Betty Montgomery can be reached at 864-585-9213 or

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Students, faculty design garden display for Int’l Philadelphia Flower Show


With a sign reading “You Are Brilliant” hovering high above the display, the greenery fills the vicinity of the presentation with hints of red, purple and yellow peaking through. In all, over four dozen types of plants were used in the gardens, landscape design professor Chad Nelson said.

Two weeks may remain of the winter season, but that does not stop students and faculty from reminding garden enthusiasts, spectators and Newark locals what the upcoming warm months have to offer.

 Since last Monday, two dozen students and four professors from three different departments have been working 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, putting finishing touches on a garden display to be shown at the International Philadelphia Flower Show. From March 2 to March 10, the exhibition room of the Pennsylvania Convention Center will be transformed into a floral sanctuary with the British-inspired theme dubbed “Brilliant.”

“We wanted to take the idea of people being able to use their own personalities to develop their own landscapes,” Nelson said. “We then came up with the concept of, ‘You’re brilliant.’”

Instead of focusing solely on British gardens, the university’s display features three personalized gardens inspired by and crafted for clients based on their individual needs, Nelson said. In a team comprised of students whose majors range from fine arts to landscape design, Nelson said the students used their different skills to interview clients, design gardens and implement the display at the show.

Though the garden installations began last week, junior Taylor Fehmel said the planning for the project began last spring. Fehmel, who took part in the Philadelphia Flower Show during her freshman year, spent the winter months “force growing” plants in the university’s greenhouse, a process she described as overwhelming.

“I didn’t realize this, but there are so many different factors of force growing,” Fehmel said. “It depends on the day length, the hours––there are so many different factors that nothing is ever guaranteed to blossom.”

Fehmel is one of the students enrolled in Design Process Practicum, a landscape design course which requires enrolled students to participate in the flower show. When the university had a display at the 2011 Philadelphia Flower Show, only landscape design and horticulture students participated, according to landscape design professor Julie Bruck. This year, however, participants included students from First Year Experience classes as well as landscape design, leadership and art students.

Senior fine arts major Kristin Tinari was primarily responsible for adding small, artistic details throughout the garden. Many of the materials, such as a dream catcher, were secondhand, she said. In addition to focusing on the details of the garden, Tinari built a table entirely out of thrifted glass.

Through this project, Tinari said she has learned valuable lessons applicable in the workforce. Because students from several majors, all with different areas of expertise were involved in the project, cooperation was necessary, she said.

“We had to learn how to execute a plan and collaborate with individuals,” Tinari said.

Much of this collaborative effort took place outside of the classroom, Bruck said. After conceptualizing the gardens, she said students spent weekends growing plants, staining wood and assembling the presentation in a warehouse.

Though time consuming, Bruck said this hands on learning experience is something her students will find useful in their careers, regardless of major.

“What my students need is this translation of what we do in class as a project and real world building,” she said. “I find students are really surprised with the end result.”

Each student could choose their own roles in the project, Bruck said, with some often crossing over into an area outside of their field of study. In addition, participants were able to incorporate concepts learned in class, such as sustainability, into the design process.

One of the landscapes, titled “Josh,” was entirely eco-friendly, featuring native plants and a pond, Nelson said. After interviewing the client, the students designed this garden to cater to his personality and needs, he said. Bruck said many of the plants in the garden are native and can be found at White Clay Creek State Park.

Senior Zekun Li, a landscape design student, spent up to ten hours some days working on the project. As an international student, he said learning flower names was arduous, but considering what he got out of the project, it was worth it, he said

After college, Zekun said he will pursue his master’s degree in landscape design in hopes of getting into city planning. He said he pursued this field because of his connection with nature.

“I always liked being outside with nature and plants,” he said. “That’s why I chose this major.”

Flower show officials will judge the show in two categories––horticulture and design, Nelson said. He said the judges look at the various sized displays to see how well the plants were grown and how innovative the design was.

Regardless of the results, Nelson said the flower show is an essential event for flower enthusiasts.

“As a gardener, it’s the highlight of the year because at a time when it’s bleak, you can come here,” Nelson said. “It’s a real inspiration.”

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Three Wellington-designed gardens win gold awards at Ellerslie flower show

Press Release – Ellerslie International Flower Show

Three Wellington-designed gardens are among the eight gardens that have won gold medals at this year’s Ellerslie International Flower Show.

The overall quality of the gardens at the Show have impressed the judging panel, but they singled out eight gardens for particular praise, awarding them each a prestigious gold medal.

Those gardens were designed by Christchurch designers Rebecca Hammond and Grant Stephens (H S Landscapes); Weta Workshop’s The Gloaming creator Johnny Fraser-Allan with Andy Ellis and Danny Kamo; UK designers Harfleet + Fisher Tomlin + Harfleet; Auckland City Council; CPIT Bachelor of Architectural Studies students; Christchurch’s Terra Viva; Wellington landscape design student Bayley LuuTomes and Wellington designer Ben Hoyle (Blue Gecko).

Singled out for Silver Distinction medals were Auckland designers Adam Shuter and Tony Murrell (Shuter Design and Murrell Group), Christchurch designers Jay Van Lent and Stephen Mapletoft (ARKO) and Otorohanga Council.

Silver medals went to Kapiti Coast children from Raumati South Primary School and Christchurch landscaper Scott Fletcher (Insero Design), Lincoln University’s Ryan Morton, Asburton District Council and a second team of CPIT Bachelor of Architectural Studies students.

Hort Galore gold medals this year were awarded to Christchurch Woodturners’ Association for their Alice’s Adventures in Woodland: After the tea party, the NZ Alpine Society and the Christchurch Bonsai Society. Floral Art Gold went to Annika Horgan, from Nectar in Tai Tapu.

Convenor of Judges Andrew Fisher Tomlin (who was not involved in the judging of his own gardens), from Britain says the top awards this year have come from a wide variety of exhibits.

“There is no distinct theme this year, each designer has followed their own heart. We have a vastly diverse range, from gardens like Revolutionising Reuse with amazing recycled elements, to sophisticated and slick gardens like Modern Day Moa.

“I am very impressed by the big ideas and simple messages this year’s designers are showing at Ellerslie. They demonstrate a deep understanding of core design values, as well as high quality material finish and horticultural excellence.”

Fisher Tomlin, who has just been named garden designer of the year at Britain’s New Home Gardens Awards has high-calibre international credentials. He is a director of the London College of Garden Design and sits on the selection panel for the Chelsea Flower Show.

“I am a firm believer in new designers leading the way and with so many innovative new takes on gardens at Ellerslie this year I can see people saying “I never expected that, but I could do it at home.”

“Ellerslie’s variety really will wow visitors this year – and the next generation of garden professionals.”
Exhibition garden results: EXHIBITION GARDENS

• Creative Courtyard – Kevin Gillespie (GLD, Manawatu) – Merit
• Our sustainable schoolyard – Raumati South School – Kapiti Coast – Silver
• ARKO (Jay Van Lent and Stephen Mapletoft) – Silver Distinction
• A French Kiss in Akaroa – Ben Hoyle (Blue Gecko, Wellington) – Gold
• Sometimes you need to see what’s behind you – Andrew Fisher Tomlin, Tom Paul Harfleet (UK) – Gold
• Sometimes you need to see what’s above you – Andrew Fisher Tomlin, Tom Paul Harfleet (UK) – Bronze
• Floating in Transition – Scott Fletcher (Insero Design, Christchurch) – Silver
• Modern Day Moa – Adam Shuter Tony Murrell (Auckland) – Silver Distinction
• Revolutionising Reuse – Grant Stephens Rebecca Stewart (H S Design, Christchurch) – Gold

• Casa Viva – Terra Viva, Christchurch – Gold


• Wind of change – Gislinde Folkherts – Merit
• Snow to low levels- Marion Partridge – Merit
• Flowers always inspire – Megan Parker – Silver
• New shoots, new life – Lien Wong Florist – Merit


• North Otago Floral Art – Silver Distinction
• O Frosty Morn – Annette Waller and Liz Chapman – Bronze
• The elements prevail – F M Floral Art – Bronze
• Lightening strikes – Jenny Harris and Heather Sibley – Silver Distinction
• Jan Osbourne – Merit
• Avon Floral Art Club – Merit
• Three x Three – Marion, Carol and Relda – Silver
• Element of Nature – Bloomers Lois Holdoway and Hannah Braid – Bronze
• Cashmere Gallery – Bronze
• Rainbow Tornado – Annika Horgan, Nectar Florist – Gold

• Hollie Sarten, Manukau Institute of Technology, Auckland – Silver Distinction
• Tetaake Itinteang, Manukau Institute of Technology, Auckland – Merit
• Aimee Andrews, Nature’s Florist, Wellington – Silver
• Anastasia Harris, Central City Flowers, Christchurch – Bronze
• Jessica Mills, Lovells Flowers 4 You, Hawera – Bronze


• Sit back and relax – Christchurch Beautifying Association – Bronze
• Back in time – Canterbury Rhododendron Society – Silver
• Alice in Wonderland – Christchurch Woodturners Association – Gold
• Colour up – Canterbury Horticultural Society – Merit
• Plant portraits – NZ Alpine Garden Society – Gold
• Gender garden – NZ Garden Trust Silver Distinction
• Show-offs – Go Gardening NZ (NGINZ) – Bronze
• Songpa Gu Sister City Committee – Bronze

Ellerslie International Flower Show is on now in North Hagley Park from 6 to 10 March. For more information:

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