Xanthe White in Japan, with photos by Sophie Leuschke


Xanthe talked about her experiences last year at the prestigious Gardening World Cup held annually in a replica Dutch town near Nagasaki, Japan. Her atmospheric, lushly planted garden 'Arcadia' (pictured) was awarded a Silver medal. She described the challenges of returning, having swept the pool with gold awards in 2012, to participate once again in a competition where typhoons descend without warning and everything has to be completed in a matter of days, not weeks, through translators, from sourcing plants to building each and every element of the project. Without the universal language of Latin names for plants, the search for suitable material becomes especially demanding, while working with venerable, highly honoured, local garden design experts and master craftsmen reinforced her appreciation of the reverent Japanese approach to the landscape. For example, the intrinsic  value and characterisation applied to rocks within the landscape:  "They have a face,' she explained simply. Ownership of her outstanding creation inevitably became, however, something of a shared affair. www.xanthewhitedesign.co.nz 

The other New Zealander at the Gardening World Cup was Bayley LuuTomes, fresh from success at the Ellerslie International Flower Show. His garden, 'Glass Bottle Sanctuary', consisted of a spiral of recycled wine bottles with coloured water matching the colourful planting to create a mesmerising water feature of colour and light sparkling through the glass. 

Another Ellerslie champion, Paul Hervey-Brookes from the UK, was also in Japan and he had invited Sophie Leuschke over to London especially to photograph his garden at the Chelsea Flower show earlier in the year.

John Tan and Raymond Toh from Singapore won the main show garden award with a tropical paradise garden which was lit magnificently at night.

 Held from 12-20 October 2013, the Gardening World Cup attracted 60,000 visitors.