Crocodile, wallabies and turtles for Ellerslie outback oasis

6 November 2013

A little patch of Australia is appearing at Ellerslie International Flower Show next year, complete with live wallabies and turtles, a rabbit-proof fence, red soil, and a 10-foot brass crocodile.

Fifth time show exhibitor and silver medal winner Scotty Fletcher is turning a 20 metre by 25 metre area in North Hagley Park into “My Outback Oasis” or the world of the Aboriginal dreamtime.

Using rock art, a waterfall with an Aboriginal dot-painted pond and drought resistant plants, Mr Fletcher’s garden is his interpretation of a mythical story of how a human family was eaten by the Rainbow Serpent in a rage. They returned as a crocodile, turtles and wallabies to live in the oasis.

Mr Fletcher delights in using his gardens to share stories from his Aboriginal heritage with New Zealanders. He is from the Wiradjuri people and the Riverine area near Wagga Wagga.

“There are also connections between Aboriginal and Maori culture,” he says. “We both tell stories through art and sound and we see the links between the land, the animals and humans.”

Mr Fletcher believes his story garden has universal appeal. He hopes the wallabies and turtles will help bring alive the sense of balance between land, animals and people.

The wallabies will be in the garden for a few hours each day, behind a rabbit-proof fence that resembles the fences that criss-cross the Australian outback.

• Ellerslie International Flower Show is in Christchurch from 26 February to 2 March 2014.

• Tickets are on sale now at www.ellerslieflowershow.co.nz