Amateur cultivates top award at garden show

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An amateur gardener has won gold at her first appearance at a major gardening show.

Elaine Christian, 50, of Barton Seagrave, spent last week at this year’s Gardener’s World Live event at the NEC where she was showing off her New Zealand-inspired garden in the Birmingham Borders section.

As well as taking the top prize in her category Miss Christian also had the chance to mix with celebrities such as Alan Titchmarsh.

Miss Christian, who works as an art teacher but has no formal gardening training, said: “This is the first time I’ve exhibited and I was really pleased just to have been accepted to appear at the show. I was elated to win my category.

“It’s been fantastic to be here and I’ve been blown away by the comments I’ve received from visitors. Alan Titchmarsh came along to look at my garden and praised me for what I had done.”

Miss Christian began sketching designs for her border in December, taking her inspiration from a forthcoming visit she and her partner William Portch are making to New Zealand.

She found out in February she could take part in the show and after lots of research the majority of her plants began arriving in mid-April.

Her garden was called Aotearoa – The Land of the Long White Cloud, and included a variety of New Zealand plants. The border was divided into two to represent the North and South Islands.

It also included organic sculptures based on the iconic Maori Koru symbol of New Zealand flora which she made herself from stainless steel provided by Billsons of Kettering.

Miss Christian was awarded a gold medal and Best in Show for her group last Tuesday before the event was opened to the public.