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A central Christchurch visit to the Festival of Flowers and Romance

Dorothy - 11/02/05

Christchurch is becoming known world-wide for its Festival of Flowers and Romance held in February when the whole city is bright with flowers - in the Botanic Gardens, in parks throughout the city, in gardens on roundabouts and at street corners, and in the home gardens of Christchurch citizens.

February 11-20 Christchurch Garden City Flowers and Romance Festival
If you are close enough to attend this year do mark the events in your diary and join the crowds.

If you can't make it this year do plan to attend next year. Mark the dates in the itinerary for your New Zealand visit and plan your travel around them.

This year's events
"All things bright and beautiful"
- a floral carpet in Christchurch Cathedral in Cathedral Square in the heart of the city.

Friday 11th to Sunday 20th February 2005
Christchurch Cathedral, Cathedral Square

Admission $5.00

This carpet made from the flowers of Canterbury is patterned to represent a pathway through the four seasons in Christchurch.

Open for viewing daily 8am to 9pm Monday to Saturday and Sunday 12 midday to 6pm.

"Romance of the Seasons" Wearable Flowers Parades and the floral carpet for $5.00 including both features.
The parades last 20 to 30 minutes and show the flower costumes designed and created by Christchurch fabric artist Jenny Gillies and modelled by ballet dancers with a background of beautiful music. Again the theme is the four seasons.

Parade times 11 am, 12.40pm, and 2.00pm daily 11th to 20th February, plus two evening shows at 7pm on Tuesday 15th and Thursday 17th February.

While you are in Cathedral Square do pause and experience "A Scented Garden for the Blind" created by Designer Gardens Ltd and volunteers from the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind Garden Club. The garden is designed to represent a textured map of New Zealand. To create this pattern the designers have used plants, a water feature creating a silver fern on the surface of the pool, textured designs including Yuccas and succulents, grasses, stones, shells, driftwood and hanging baskets. This garden will not only appeal to viewers through its fragrances and its colours and textures but will also have auditory appeal through birdsongs and wind chimes.

It will be in Cathedral Square from 11th to 20th February 2005.
After the Festival it will be uplifted and reset in a permanent position in Abberley Park, St Albans, Christchurch.

Viewing is free, but there will be an opportunity to make a donation to the Blind Foundation.

Moving on from Cathedral Square
From Cathedral Square you can walk to the Botanic Gardens or catch a tram. During the ten days of the festival the trams will be decorated with flowers. Hanging baskets will decorate all the poles along the tram route.

If you visit the Festival attractions at midday you will be able to hear the lunchtime concerts along the tram route - in Cathedral Square, at the Arts Centre, inVictoria Square or New Regent Street.

Worcester Boulevard The tram will take you along the 'Flower Walk' down the length of Worcester Boulevard from the Avon River to the Botanic Gardens. If you walk you will be able to have food, wine and fun as you go.

As you go down Worcester Street towards the Boulevard you will come to Rydges Hotel on the corner of Worcester Street and Oxford Terrace. The Festival Ikebana Display is on view in the foyer of the hotel throughout the Festival.

Cross Oxford Terrace and you come to Our City Building, the old information centre, opposite Rydges Hotel, Oxford Terrace. Tram Stop 2.

Here you could view More Blooming Quilts presented by the Canterbury Patchwork Society, and The Garden Plot presented by selected Canterbury Artists. The exhibition includes botanical Watercolours, Gouache and a variety of mediums to honour the Garden City.

11th to 20th February from 10am to 4pm daily.
Free Admission. Works are for sale.

The Botanic Gardens
Of course the city 's beautiful Botanic Gardens feature in the Festival. The rose garden is a mass of beautiful colour and the begonias inTownsend House are looking magnificent at present.

The Botanic Gardens will be open every day and will be open until 7pm between Monday the 14th of February and Friday the 18th of February 2005. There is free admission to the Gardens.

If you are at the gardens at 1.30pm you could join Introduction to the Botanic Gardens and Seasonal Highlights, with guides from Friends of the Botanic Gardens.

These walks are held not only held during the Festival, but also from September to March daily at 1.30pm. Meet at the Rolleston Avenue entrance beside the Canterbury Museum. Cost is $5 for 1 1/2 hours.
(Group bookings please call 384 3475 or email)

If you are walking in the Gardens in the late afternoon you may like to join the festival walks - Guided Walks in the Botanic Gardens Seasonal Highlights with Friends of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens

Monday 14 February and Wednesday 16 February 5.30pm (Bring a jacket) and Saturday 19 February at 2.00pm.

Walks take 1 1/2 hours and leave from the Botanic Gardens Information Centre, opposite the Armagh Street carpark, next to the Cafe, close to the children's playground.
Cost $2.00

What's in the Forest?
Ride the tram or follow its route to Victoria Square to view the Canterbury Horticultural Garden Club's display of animals as floral creations in the forest in Victoria Square. It protrays 99 New Zealand animals, birds and insects as you would see them in a forest - a special tribute to our flora and fauna.

"What's in the Forest?" from 11th - 20th February in the amphitheatre at Victoria Square.

Complete the trip on the tram or walk along the tram route through picturesque New Regent Street and perhaps catch a lunch time concert there.

You may want to know about other Festival events, such as the Valentine's Day dance in Cathedral Square or the Flower Power Family Fun concert.

For more information go to the Festival website

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