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Blooming marvellous at the Christchurch Botanic Gardens

11 October 2017

Floral costume designer Jenny Gillies has replaced the browns and yellows of autumn and winter with the brighter colours of spring in her Enchanted Garden display at the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

The Tea Kiosk by the Armagh Street Bridge carpark entry to the Botanic Gardens is bursting with pinks and yellows as daffodils are joined by flowering cherry costumes.

Jenny also has some of her costumes on display at Christchurch International Airport in the check-in hall, opposite Coffee Culture.

The ‘Hello Spring’ promotion is a colourful collaboration between Jenny, Patricia Proctor Design and the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and will remain at the airport until mid-November. 

Jenny, who lives in Christchurch, combines her love of gardens and flowers to create truly amazing costumes, often taking three months and up to 70 metres of sumptuous silk and velvet fabrics to complete.

A former microbiologist, she started making wearable art 20 years ago after a sunflower hat she made was spotted at the annual Christchurch Cup and Show Week horse racing events, and she was then commissioned to make more.

Jenny has gone on to produce costumes for theatre, film and opera, and has won several awards. Her work has also featured at the Royal Adelaide Show, the Ellerslie International Flower Show, the World of Wearable Art Awards and the Harrogate Flower Show in 2017.

Jenny’s designs begin with a real flower, which she pulls apart to create patterns for each element and to ensure that her creation is botanically correct. She has a collection of around 100 costumes and displays a regularly rotating selection at the Tea Kiosk in the Botanic Gardens.

The exhibition is open every day except Christmas and New Year’s Day from 10am to 4pm.

The best entrance is from the Armagh Street Bridge carpark or visitors can walk through from Rolleston Avenue towards Victoria Lake.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors, students and children over five. Children under five are free. A family concession for two adults and two children is $15.

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