The formidable line-up of landscape gardeners headlining The Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show Presented by Lawn Solutions Australia has been unveiled, giving a taste of the outdoor spectacle taking place at the Royal Exhibition Building,from March 27 – 31.
Initial 2019 garden plans illustrate a shared environmental awareness across the designer line-up, with several Show Gardens recognising the sustainable elements needed to future-proof backyards for years to come. Designers continually acknowledge the finite resources and ever-changing environmental factors on our planet by integrating water efficient plants and flowers, and designs that embrace functionality as well as form, and use locally sourced materials and flora where available.
Native plants and flowers continue to hold a place in many designers’ hearts, as does the juxtaposition between calm running water features and scorching hot fire pits. This year, the trend of stark clean lines and sharp topiaries appears to have given way to a new sensibility as a number of designers integrate colourful wildflowers, injecting delicacy and vibrancy to gardens.
While many themes can be identified when scanning the covetable design submissions, one overarching message remains: no two gardens are the same, but all will impress and inspire.
Emmaline Bowman – STEM Landscape Architecture & Design
2018 Show Garden Silver Award Winner Emmaline Bowman (STEM Landscape Architecture & Design) has been planning the Show’s Entertainment Stage, a dedicated space for musicians who will play live throughout the five days. Bowman’s design will gleam with white washed walls and silver decking, basalt boulders, and custom created bird houses. Children of all ages will adore the stage’s tepee, which will be adorned with a rainbow medley of local meadow flowers and nestled in the heart of a grove of Australian natives.
Following the success of the inaugural 2018 Welcome Garden by Phillip Withers, award-winning landscape designer Mark Browning will create this year’s Welcome Garden. Bringing almost 40 years of landscaping prowess, Browning will design a space for visitors to congregate at the show, which unlike its Show Garden counterparts, will be completely tactile and interactive. The garden will incorporate sleek architectural concrete pavers, planters and spheres from Anston SVC, and will use sustainable Porta timber to create the pergola. Browning’s show-stopper is set to be polycarbonate ringlock curtains from Kaynemail – an architectural, award-winning mesh created by Lord of the Rings weapon designer Kayne Horsham. Cyclone rated and 70% solar blocking, the shimmering curtains are set to create an ethereal wonderland for show-goers.
Browning will also be taking four emerging designers under his wing in a newly formed mentorship role created by the Nursery and Garden Industry Victoria (NGIV). The debut of the Emergent Gardens feature will see four former Achievable Garden designers create 30sqm gardens under Browning’s tutelage.
Richard Bellemo Landscapes
Richard Bellemo (Richard Bellemo Landscapes) is creating the first-ever Feature Garden, titled Green Connections: a space to connect people to nature with a number of interactive features. The sensory and educational zone is set to resonate with younger visitors and includes attractions such as a ‘friends circle’ with log seats arranged around a central fire pit and surrounded by a colourful garden, an elevated deck for group activities and discussion, and a log fort with a dedicated play area that includes a tyre “fall zone” stacked at different heights. Other sure-fire hits will include the “Living Structure”, which will be created from bamboo branches in its own nook, with several hidden points creating different openings into a custom-built bamboo forest and crawl tunnel. Bellemo also aims to educate, with a selection of stationary bikes and a manually operated water pump to inform show-goers about the life-giving water cycle.
Bayley LuuTomes Design
Headlining the Show Garden program, Kiwi designer Bayley LuuTomes (Bayley LuuTomes Design) is set to be a formidable competitor with a compelling design and a 2017 New Zealand Flower & Garden Show ‘Best in Show’ and Gold Garden Design Award under his belt. Bayley has travelled the world creating bright and vibrant, show-stopping gardens and receiving awards in South Africa, Japan, Philadelphia, Singapore, England and France.
LuuTomes’ MIFGS Garden, Under the Golden Elm, will be populated with plants supplied by Australian social enterprise Yarra View Nursery, which employs more than 100 workers with intellectual disabilities. A giant, sweeping golden elm enveloped by a huge warm, timber hive is the focal point of this garden. Tucked inside the structural hive are cushions and throws, creating a cosy, intimate escape from the outside world, scattered with hidden peep holes to view the flower-flecked garden and steal a glimpse at passers-by.
Candeo Design, Semken Landscaping & Jason Hodges for Lawn Solutions Australia
The grass is greener on the other side – a wistful adage proved right by the Lawn Solutions Garden aptly named; The Other Side. Created in collaboration between Candeo Design, Semken Landscaping and Jason Hodges, the garden is designed with the modern Australian family in mind. An outdoor entertaining area forms the main hub and provides a stunning vista of the lush garden, as well as a functional space to dine, lounge and relax. A custom-built, bold structured pergola frames the area along with trees and a planting screen, while a fence snakes around to create a sense of privacy. The primary source of entertainment for this family space is a rectangular, above-ground pool that is set aglow by pool lights at night (take note, Gardens by Twilight goers), with soft blue light streaming through the Perspex pool window. Down from the deck lies a paved area with an outdoor sofa and fire bowl surrounded by colourful, textured feature bedding. The garden is home to two feature lawn areas: the first is a mid-level zone bordered with a lowered garden bed, while the feature lawn at the front of the garden is detailed with mixed planting dotted with flowers and completed with life-size bronze Labrador sculptures frolicking in the garden, looked over by their mother.
MUSA Landscape Architecture
In collaboration with new charity sponsor Beyond Blue, Ryan McMahon (MUSA Landscape Architecture) presents Journey – a garden chronicling the path towards improved mental health. McMahon masterfully depicts this experience both physically and metaphorically: the main axis of the garden takes inspiration from the form of an aeroplane, a symbol of “the journey” that recognizes how improved mental health positively correlates with our connection to friends, family and place. A path snakes through the garden – loosely based on an aeroplane wing – narrow and curved at first, representing the difficultly of beginning of the journey. Two social spaces (one featuring a sunken fire pit) are located towards the end of the path, illustrating that as the journey progresses, people may feel more inclined to reconnect with loved ones. To the side of the path, the ground slopes to a dry creek bed to provide a contrast to an otherwise full planting garden of yellow, orange and cream flowers – hues that are a stark contrast to “blueness”, the colour and the feeling.
Ben Hutchinson Landscapes
Ben Hutchinson (Ben Hutchinson Landscapes) will reveal a metropolitan oasis with his garden Urban Retreat. Recognising the increasing difficulties facing those attempting to switch off in a technologically integrated world, the human-centred design is the perfect place to get off the grid and restore a sense of balance and connection with the natural world. Exuding an ambient calmness, the urban haven incorporates reclaimed timber decking that overlooks a gently cascading pool – designed to soothe dwellers as water falls over beautiful rocks, to the backdrop of the wildflower meadow that frames this urban sanctuary. Native flowers in various stages of bloom are scattered throughout the design, attracting a multitude of wildlife and insects to the space.
Christian Jenkins Landscape and Design
Christian Jenkins (Christian Jenkins Landscape and Design) celebrates the marriage of nature and tranquillity in his garden Dreaming. The MIFGS gold medallist and NZFGS 2017 and 2018 winner hopes his garden will inspire visitors to take a step back from their busy lives and soak in the surrounds that are so often taken for granted. Jenkins has designed a leaf-shaped outdoor room that will give the illusion of floating in space, suspended above the garden. Three lagoons are interconnected with stepping stones that lead to a forest of Australian natives. Large bottle trees add a sculptural element, and compliment the gigantic, 180cm oversized stone-wrapped dinosaur egg that is nestled in the garden: a thought-provoking sculpture that reiterates nature as the finest designer of all.
Inge Jabara Landscapes
With more than 380 gardens to her name, longstanding garden creator on The Block, Inge Jabara (Inge Jabara Landscapes) is eager to motivate show-goers by producing an on-trend, Melbourne-inspired garden that utilizes elements that can be incorporated in their own backyards. Using water, timber and tiles, Jabara will illustrate that three simple elements used in a stylish and proportional way can create a stunning outdoor space. Aiming to get viewers in their own gardens and provide real life tips that can be applied to any backyard, Jabara will use plants that work harmoniously together and are “not just for show.” The garden will serve as a statement of self-expression through architectural foliage, complimentary colours, and exceptional design, inspiring others to get in the garden and create an area that captures their personality, enhances their quality of life and dramatically increases the value of their home.
Myles Baldwin Design
Changing Times by Myles Baldwin Design is created under the ethos that landscape has no curfew – a garden’s utility should extend to all hours of the day and night. Centred around one of Carlton Garden’s existing elm trees, a stone entry path will lead up to a minimalist timber structure. Low masonry walls and perennials will surround the outdoor entertaining area beneath the structure, with an integrated water feature inspired by the Moorish cloister gardens of traditional arid climates that embraces responsible water usage.
Rob Waddell (Waddell Landscapes) is bringing to life his imagining of a garden with year-round longevity in his design Four Seasons. Created to be enjoyed throughout all seasons, the design houses four zones that sing at different stages of the year as seasons change. Summer is typified by people’s outgoing social lifestyles and is reflected in Waddell’s creation of a dynamic entertaining area. An outdoor kitchen and lounges are positioned underneath a high pergola that allows the heat of summer to be enjoyed under a protective and stylish shade, and enhanced by the sounds of bubbling water ponds. Fiery maple trees represent the transition to autumn, and a colourful array of eye-catching deciduous trees line the back fence. As temperatures start to cool, winter thrusts the sunken fire pit area into the spotlight. The perfect place for sharing intimate gatherings by the fire, Four Seasons is warm and inviting even in colder conditions. When spring arrives, this design displays a melange of colour with Agastaches, Penstemons, Gardenias and Hydrangeas all bursting into flower. The textural and height changes of Miscanthuses and Camellias create structure and interest throughout, as well as softening harder structures to create a balanced feel in the garden.
Willie Wildlife Sculptures, Candeo Design & Semken Landscaping.
The Third Age is a garden designed to showcase the whimsical bronze sculpture work of Will Wilson (Willie Wildlife Sculptures) in a sprawling backyard garden setting. Set against a small weather board cottage a bluestone path will lead to a stunning central bronze bird bath feature, shadowed by a mature crab apple tree that overhangs a giant apple sculpture. Ringed by playful garden beds with vibrant, textural shapes the Show Garden will be overflowing with sculptural vignettes of bronzed birds and flora. This is a garden that knows its lane – it’s not built for entertaining. The Third Age has been designed to demonstrate how people can evoke a sense of fun and eccentricity in their own backyard.
There are still more exciting Show Gardens to be revealed so keep an eye out.
We can’t wait to see these beautiful designs come to life at the show 27-31 March.