Christchurch in bloom as Flower Show opens
The Ellerslie International Flower Show will open to the public in Christchurch later this morning.
There are more than 200 displays and 73 horticultural exhibitions at the show, and more than 50,000 people are likely to attend over the next five days.
Behind the exterior beauty of it all, the show is big business.
Let's start with the main exhibition competitors – most of them are professionals working in the design and landscape industry, and their gardens take months to create and cost thousands to put together.
For those with green fingers there's no better place to show off just what you or your business can do. The event is now ranked as one of the world's top gardening shows.
On a smaller scale, this year the emerging designs student competition really stood out for the judges. Their rooftop gardens are bright, fun and creative, and again take the best part of a year to complete – and it's all done on top of their official university curriculum.
But again there's a motivator behind their hard work – getting their names out, adding to their CVs and securing a good job on completing their studies.
"If you do well, it does open that door into different industries," says Ryan Morton, landscape architecture student.
The events directors hope to sell around 50,000 tickets to the five-day event, so there will be plenty of foot traffic. And with plenty of open wallets, the dozens of trade stalls plan on taking in thousands during the event.
"Not only does it generate a lot of sales here during the week, it also generates a lot of sales afterwards," says Jane Knight, Selao Garden Art founder.
While last year locals streamed through the gates, just a few hundred of the visitors were from the North Island. Organisers believe that should change this year, now that the city's in full earthquake recovery mode.
"We are expecting about 3 or 4 percent to come from the North Island, so that would be a good lift from previous years," says organiser Dave Mee.
That should ensure the show makes a profit – last year it made a small loss of just over $2000.