Stoney Bank Nursery Reveals the Many Faces of New Zealand

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A little taste of New Zealand.

Jack Blandy, Founder and President of Stoney Bank Nursery in Glen Mills, is returning to the Philadelphia International Flower Show (for his thirty first year) with landscaping perspectives from the country of New Zealand.  For the 2010 presentation, “Passport to the World,” Blandy wanted to reflect cultural influences from the past and show how they shape the New Zealand of today.

Because New Zealand is one of many countries that have been shaped by British colonial influence, Blandy thought it was important to show how both indigenous and colonial cultures have impacted the island nation. “Our exhibit is a combination of Maori culture, traditional English landscaping and the modern New Zealand garden,” says Blandy.

He says the section, “Garden of Ora,” is modeled off of a theme that was once featured in the Chelsea Flower Show.  It will be filled with Maori symbolism. A lizard sculpture will be a major focal point, with hot spring water running down its back and through its mouth. “The lizard,” says Blandy “represents the hot springs that were once considered a wonder of the ancient world.”

A hot spring lizard winds through the gardens.

The stone lizard will be 15 feet long and the warm water that flows down its back will feed water to three gardens below.

The uncarved Maori totem pole.

A 10-foot totem pole made from a Pawlonia tree is also being carved with Maori images, like the famous warrior expressions that involve raising your eyebrows, opening your mouth and sticking out your tongue at an enemy. “It’s like a sign saying, ‘Beware! Don’t land your ships here!’” says Blandy.

But since the British never heeded that warning, a traditional British “Bog Garden” will show New Zealand’s western influences. “There will be calla lilies, ferns and cypress trees in this garden,” says Blandy, “It will look British, but still a little New Zealand.”

Finally, the British and Maori styles will come together in a modern “Kiwi Garden” with patios, a fire pit, and landscaping that will be recognizable to the Philadelphia area.

“We wanted to tie our exhibit into what we do,” says Joe Blandy, Stoney Bank Vice President and Jack’s son, “We want people to see this garden and say, ‘Oh I could see that in my backyard.’”

The Kiwi Garden will feature boxwoods, rhododendrons, Japanese maples and various ornamentals from all over the world, illustrating how eclectic New Zealand gardens can be today. A backdrop of native plants like carex grasses, phormium, and tree ferns bring the unique garden perspectives together.

“It’s a little country and a little rock and roll,” says Jack Blandy, “something for everyone.”

For more information about Stoney Bank Nursery, go to http://www.stoneybanknurseries.com or call (610) 459-5100.

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