Life and Death For The Win

Pictures of Life and Death Garden Ellerslie Flower Show image by Ben Campbell

Delighted to read that “Pictures of Life and Death,” a garden featuring fungi, lichen and moulds by a team from the Christchurch Botanic Gardens took first place at the Ellerslie International Flower Show in Christchurch, New Zealand this week.

Pictures of Life and Death GardenJeremy Hawker, Christchurch Botanic Gardens Botanical Services Team Leader, describes it as a “dramatic, theatrical exhibit where fungi, mould and lichen will thrive. There will be a sense of being below the earth and looking out to a glimpse of blue sky, hence the name Pictures of Life and Death.” Inspired by the mold in Hawker’s coffee cup, the Botanic Gardens’ team spent months foraging for mushrooms throughout the region that they continued to grow on decomposing logs to include in the exhibit.

The Human Flower Project offers this as an example of bellephobia trending. Technically speaking, fear of beauty is “callophobia,” but only a phobophile would care about such details. I’d like to see it as an example of the dawning recognition that indeed, fungi can be exquisitely beautiful. Look at the love shown for the plant life in Avatar (another winner made in New Zealand and undoubtedly influenced by the work of Paul Stamets).

Here are some gorgeous views of the garden and an interview with Sheena Baines, the co lighting designer, who describes it as “The whole sequence is based on death and life and the cycle. We basically destroy the earth with volcanoes and earthquakes and then we rebuild it. It’s kind of death and destruction spawns new life.”

  • alan1000

    It looks like you enjoyed your visit to CHCH

    In the weeks leading up we ran the festival of Flowers. Have alook at my blog for some photos and a couple of stories.

    alanjolliffe.blogspot.com

  • I find fungi, lichens and mosses fascinating. It would have been nice to see the show.

  • gardengeeknz

    Me too, Wiseacre. I went to the show last year but had business at the other end of the country this week. I'm liking your lichen photography! Beautiful images of these fascinating creatures on your site — thanks for posting.

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