If you missed the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show this year, this week I am sharing some of the award winning designs that wowed and inspired. There was everything from luxurious landscapes, to guerilla lane way gardening (one of my favourites), rooftop gardening and planting in small spaces – all the more important as our residential plots are getting smaller and smaller. Later in the week I will share with you more of the garden designs in addition to the RMIT floral fashion couture, and beautiful floral compilations inside the Great Hall of Flowers. A real green thumb week ahead! But today, sit back and take a look at some of the award winning gardens – perhaps they will offer you some inspiration for your own garden transformation over the coming winter, the perfect time to get stuck into the garden and lay a perfect foundation for Spring blooms and growth.
The Greenery Garden by Vivid Design collected a bevy of awards last week. Not only did they win the coveted Best In Show award, but also picked up the Mark Bence Construction Award, Horticultural Media Association Award for best use of plant life, and a Gold Medal.
Ian Barker’s Reflection Garden drew quite the crowd. This is the first year Melbourne City Council has permitted the lake to be used as part of a show garden. After years of being knocked back, this year his persistence paid off as the Council relented under the strict proviso they tread lightly in their application. A rough sawn cedar pier and boat shed floats over the lake, blackened with a blow torch that makes the surrounding green landscape pop. A meadow garden sits alongside the lake, begging to be explored. In a year of firsts for Ian Barker, he also incorporated yellow flowers which he says can be a design challenge. He says the trick is to mix yellow plantings with white silvery leafed plants to soften the landscape.
The “Do the NT” garden was designed to encourage visitors to head up to the Northern Territory for culture and adventure. Clearly resonating with the judges, this garden picked up a Gold Show Garden award. If you have ever explored Kakadu or Litchfield National Park, I think you would agree. It made me want to schedule another holiday up north to re-live my last adventure there two years ago.
Georgia Harper’s OHANA garden showcased how to create a modern and enticing low maintenance outdoor space on challenging sites such as a slope. Tiered levels defined a dining area, chill out zone and pool set below a large feature outdoor glass mosaic by Swimple of a Hawaiian surfer. Pockets of tiered planter boxes framed the space, mixing native shrubs and tropical plantings. Don your hibiscus prints boardies or bikini and add a Mai Tai. Your friends won’t want to leave.
Greenery abounded with just a hint of autumnal leaf colour in “A Garden Called Frank” by BLAC. Rolling lawns surrounded grey tiered concrete platforms that led up to an outdoor ethanol fireplace clad in limestone paving. A serene spot perfect to while away a cool afternoon curled up with a good book.
The drought tolerant garden by Paul Hervey-Brookes showcased dry landscapes need not be bereft of colour or style. Gravel dirt paths wove their way past multiple planted natives through to “The Retreat” – A shaded timber and corten steel hut with seating for two – the perfect spot for a cuppa after a spot of gardening.
Daniel Tyrell showed how to transform our often barren rear laneways into places of beauty. Imagine your grey rear paling fence transformed with some eye catching grafitti art, underplanted with resilient native grasses and flower flanked fence lines. Yes the Council may consider this a form of guerilla gardening, but power lies with the people! Band together with your neighbours, plant out your lanewaya with natives or fruit and vegies, and encourage the local kids and artists to use your fence as their canvas. Greening our suburbs – Are you game?
The Find Your Balance Garden created by Christian Jenkins invited relaxation and contemplation. The timber clad oval seating space enveloped a simply decorated space with beanbag lounge chairs for intimate conversation. From there blue stepping stones led to a cocooned refuge in the form of a hanging basket hanging beneath a decorative screened roof letting in dappled light. A soothing and comforting space.
I have provided just a snapshot of some of the show garden designs that caught the eye of judges at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. What I love about the Show is that it presents a wide genre of garden landscapes, from modern to native, big and small. Every year I come home inspired to get stuck into the garden, and that’s just what I did this weekend. My favourite show garden design this year was the laneway makeover, “Right of Way”. Which was your favourite garden design this year?