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Wellington landscape designer wins silver award in world cup

Nov 19th, 2013 | By | Category: Editor's Picks, Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

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WELLINGTON landscape designer Bayley LuuTomes excelled at the 2013 Gardening World Cup Flower Show, but before he entered he had no idea the competition existed.

“Prior to doing all this, I didn’t even know there was a world cup for gardening,” he said.

LuuTomes, 31, won the silver award for his garden ‘Glass Bottle Sanctuary’ last month in Nagasaki, Japan.

He wanted to demonstrate something that was clean and pure, and achieved this by using recycled bottles to form the shape of a koru.

“I was trying to represent New Zealand in a fresh way and I used recycling to convey that New Zealand is clean and green and beautiful.”

The garden was constructed on a 5 x 5 metre plot on site in Nagasaki.

Mr LuuTomes was paired up with a local contractor whose sole job was to build the garden.

There would typically be five to seven people working on the garden at a time.

“It was the first time that I’ve ever designed a garden where I felt like I was the designer where I could step back a bit and look after the design stage,” he said.

It wasn’t all fun in the sun – the day before judging, a typhoon struck.

Work was set back about a day but the garden survived after being wrapped up in a netted square frame.

Five months of planning went into the garden, which took five days to construct, and in the end, Mr LuuTomes was very pleased with the result.

“It turned out a lot better than what I thought, actually,” he said.

The gardens are on show to the public for about a week and then they get taken down.

“Unfortunately that’s the reality of show gardens,” Mr LuuTomes said.  “You build these beautiful spaces and it is heart-wrenching to see it get torn down.”

New Zealander Xanthe White also won silver in the 10 x 10-metre garden category.

It is the first year Mr LuuTomes has worked on show gardens and it has been a successful one.

He won two gold awards and was selected as the Student Designer of the Year at Ellerslie International Flower Show in Christchurch and won silver at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in London.

Mr LuuTomes will return to Ellerslie next year to exhibit a garden for a charitable organisation, Kids with Arthritis New Zealand.

“To be honest, I would love to do nothing but show gardens.”

LuuTomes was an “arty-farty” kid who loved to doodle and draw and thought he would love to make a career out of it.

He studied design at Massey University, worked in advertising for a few years, then went on to become a graduate of the National Certificate in Horticulture from the Open Polytechnic.

“It’s one of those courses that doesn’t look glamorous. It’s like, what can I do, work in a nursery or work for the council? You can do so much more with it – I became a designer.”

He uses what he learned during the course to help him understand how plants play an important role in designing a landscape area, and now he has travelled the world.

“You’re not just restricted to nurseries and plant centres,” he said.

LuuTomes has his own landscape design business, Bayley LuuTomes Design, which he said is growing steadily.

“If it grew any quicker, I wouldn’t have the manpower to do it. I probably wouldn’t be sleeping.”

He would like to nurture the next generation of garden designers by mentoring and helping out budding horticulturists and designers where he can.

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is a Whitireia journalism student originally hailing from Tauranga with a love for polar bears and airplanes. She is currently covering the Lyall Bay/Kilbirnie area of Wellington.
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