gardens should capture the
beauty of nature around us,
be timeless in their application
and help us feel rejuvenated
and relaxed

silver medalTake Five,
2009 Ellerslie International Flower Show
Exhibition Garden -
Gold Award

This garden was an inspiration for me. In creating it I set about bringing everything I have come to appreciate about contemporary sustainable design into one garden. The result was Take Five, a combination of design aesthetic and practical sustainability, where structures built from sustainably sourced timbers sit alongside native plants, green walls, and rain gardens.

Here is what Laura Kedell, writer for Avenues magazine had to say about the garden: "Take Five, by Carl Pickens, was a stunning combination of sustainability and beauty. He had vertical plant walls (edible and not), slimline rainwater tanks, compost and worm farms, boardwalks made of vitex from Greenpeace’s Solomon Islands plantation, permeable pathways so all water returned to acquifers, and tiled roof gardens roofing his shade structures. All this, and he managed beauty as well".



click images to enlarge

governors bay garden 1
g.bay garden 3
g.b garden 4



design and planning pageorganics permaculturetalk and workshops page

silver medalPeace by Piece,
2010 Ellerslie International Flower Show
Exhibition Garden -
Silver Distinction

Inspired by the power of positive thinking, I set about creating a garden for the 2010 Ellerslie Show that captured peoples ideas for creating a better world. The result was Peace by Piece, an elegantly simple, Zen like garden that had at its centre a curved wall holding 1664 recycled glass bottles with positive messages written on them. This was an experimental garden for me, and I was delighted to have it recognised with a silver distinction award.

piece by peace garden plan

click images to enlarge




"I think we could make the world a better
place if we don't cut rainforests down
because you could kill sloths and apes and
break their homes, they use it for outside
furniture" Ethan Pennance, 8 yrs, Ohoka

"There is a small window of
opportunity to save the world, it is about the
size and shape of the human heart" David
Eisenberg. Rex, Christchurch

"Smile when you least feel like it and play it
forward - help or do something nice for
somebody - give them money for a parking
meter, entrance to a film, take in their
wheelie bins, give an old lady a bunch of
flowers, give an old man a bunch of flowers,
just do something nice for somebody
sometime!" Sue Abbott, 46 years, ChCh

"Streets made of sweets " Daisy-Mae, 7 yrs,
Papanui Primary School

Reduce our impact...on the environment,
on other people and on ourselves. Eat less
meat. Drive less. Volunteer. See the world
through the eyes of an adversary. Devote a
little time to yourself. Kill your television.
Smile.....dream; we can only create a future
if we can imagine it.
Glen, 28 years, Christchurch