The New World team, under the close supervision of Xanthe White, got their gardening gloves on and worked with the team at Starship to bring a petunia garden to life at the national children’s hospital.
Designed by top New Zealand landscape gardener, Xanthe White and author of The Good Dirt, the team created a gorgeous, vibrant petunia installation in the hospital’s Koromiko Garden.
“The space is designed to be a simple yet enduring garden. The idea is to turn an uninteresting area into a welcoming and vibrant space for patients and their families,” says Xanthe. “Petunias will add colour for the summer and minimal effort will be required to maintain this beautiful garden.”
When designing the garden, Xanthe wanted to create something that was reflective of Starship and enjoyable for the children and families who use it.
“The petunia colour echoes the Starship branding and a simple framework has been constructed in the shape of a star, a strong feature of the Starship brand. The installation is adorned by lights, so that it can be enjoyed in the evening as children and their families walk through the windowed corridor – a ‘guiding star’ into Starship,” says Xanthe.
Xanthe is a firm believer that the ability to enjoy your environment and the act of gardening is beneficial to both children and adults. “Aside from improving our environment, gardening is fun, creative and relaxing for all ages. I’m thrilled to be able to educate and inspire children through gardening and it’s a real privilege to be able to leave a memorable installation on the hospital grounds for everyone to enjoy.”
Helping Xanthe and the New World team were Silver Fern netballers – Maria Tutaia, Grace Rasmussen and Anna Harrison who also got their hands dirty and put an extra smile on the faces of four Starship patients who were there to help.
Starship patient and avid netball fan, 10-year old Ivy Keith was thrilled to be involved building the garden with the Silver Ferns. Following her diagnosis of Type I diabetes in December last year, Ivy spent time in Starship Hospital getting her condition under control and learning how to manage it through a healthy diet and medication.
“When I was in Starship Mum and Dad would walk past the Koromiko Garden every night to get dinner, and now other kids families will be able look out as they walk through the tunnel and see the brightly coloured petunias and the lights shining around the star – that’s just really cool,” says Ivy.
Ivy’s mum, Elena Keith adds, “One of the new things we’ve had to factor in since Ivy’s diagnosis is how important diet is in terms of managing Ivy’s diabetes. Good nutrition that is full of variety and tastes good is critical.”
“Something my time at Starship taught me was that there are a number of ‘free foods’ that I can eat whenever I want,” says Ivy. “A couple of my favourites are carrots and cherry tomatoes, I just love them. Being able to plant them with Little Garden and eat them whenever I want is so cool.”
New World has been a Five Star Sponsor of the Starship Foundation since 2014. Its ongoing support for Starship continues to make a real difference to so many New Zealand families, and this garden is another opportunity to bring a little bit of joy to patients and families at the national children’s hospital.
Brad Clark, Chief Executive for the Starship Foundation says, “We’re really looking forward to watching the petunia garden grow, its wonderful way to bring the joy of gardening to children who often cannot, for medical reasons, get out into the garden themselves. Xanthe has created a really beautiful installation that will come into its own as the petunias grow over summer. And a huge thank you to New World, our five star sponsor for bringing this ‘Little Garden’ to the children of Starship and their customers to raise vital funds for the Starship Foundation.”
The garden officially launches the last collectible in the New World Little Garden campaign – the Little Garden Petunia for Starship. The limited edition Little Garden Petunia is available for $1 from Monday 26 September at all New World stores nationwide. All proceeds from the sale of the Little Garden Petunia will be donated to national child health projects via the Starship Foundation.
“The Little Garden Petunia is a great addition to the other 24 Little Garden Collectibles, we really want to encourage our customers to come in-store and pick up the Starship Petunia, which for $1 is not only a bargain but with all funds going to the Starship Foundation really has the ability to make a difference to some of our littlest, most in need New Zealanders,” says Jen Mariu, Sponsorship Manager, Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd. “We’d encourage customers to get in quick though, as the Petunia is the only Little Garden flower and there are limited numbers available.”