26th March - 30th March 2025


Phillip Withers and Fiona Brockhoff – Pocket Profile

Designed by Phillip Withers in collaboration with Fiona Brockhoff.


SaltBush is an experience…of the coexistence of humans with the land, with flora, with fauna, with water, and with each other. An experience of a journey into a garden to discover what our environment means to us. An experience that inspires ongoing observation and learning and encourages humans big and small to not only appreciate, but to actively care for nature. 

The setting for this experience is the Victorian coastline. The journey begins in the salt coastal dunes, traverses a rocky hinterland and wetland where water is naturally filtered by aquatic plants and culminates in an inland bush setting. Here a gathering place promotes immersion, observation, connection and reflection.

The garden has been constructed from recycled and local materials and consists entirely of Victorian indigenous plants which will provide habitat for local wildlife. Water treatment has been designed to balance a healthy ecological system with aesthetic objectives.  

Together, these elements create a strong connection with the Victorian coastal natural environment.  They infuse an authentic connection to place in the garden visitor; principles that can be applied to any garden small or large, urban or rural. 

Consideration has been given throughout the design journey as to how waste can be minimised at the conclusion of the show. SaltBush will be repurposed in Geelong and the Bellarine. 

Show Gardener Profile: Phillip Withers

When/How did you get into the industry?

I started in fashion design but found a passion for natural landscapes through traveling and a chance job in the industry where I grew up to the East of Melbourne. It was then a matter of putting the two together and doing further study into landscape design, and establishing Phillip Withers in 2012.

What are you most excited about at this year’s #melbflower show?

Being involved again and talking to the industry and the public, we are big advocates for making design approachable. Talking about landscape is something that only builds further passion, feeding the next generation of budding garden designers.

What is the gardening trend of the season?

We don’t really get caught up in what everyone’s doing to be honest, but clients are coming to us with more of a conscious. Hence our designs respond to that, creating a more natural and environmentally considered garden. At the end of the day the two go hand-in-hand.

Who has been the biggest influence on your design career?

There has been a few people, I find it very important to have mentors and collaborate. But right now my biggest mentor is  Fiona Brockhoff, and learning from her amazing wisdom and years of considered work.

If you could invite any three people to a garden party who would they be?

Teresa Moller

Ash Grunwald

Rory McIlroy

Show Gardener Profile: Fiona Brockhoff

When/How did you get into the industry? 

After completing landscape design studies, Fiona gained real insight into unique ecosystems and how plant communities had evolved to deal with Australia’s often-harsh conditions. Whilst gaining experience with various designers, working on re-vegetation projects in coastal and alpine areas, designing country gardens where resources are often limited, and through her love of hiking and observing the natural environment she focused her passion for creativity on designing gardens that were uniquely Australia.

What are you most excited about at this year’s #melbflower show? 

This year, like each year previously, Fiona is hoping to see a keener focus on repurposing materials, sustainably designed and made Australian made products and plant species and cultivars showing good ecological fit or site suitability for our environment. Basically, examples of good sustainable design with an Australian feel.

What is the gardening trend of the season? 

The term ‘trend of the season’ implies a fleeting concept, which is not something Fiona Brockhoff looks to in garden design. Instead, her objective is to bring together all the functional elements required in the landscape in a beautiful and cohesive design that is in harmony with the landscape and architecture that inspired it. These values in the design process materialise as an authenticity and uniqueness in each landscape. 

Who has been the biggest influence on your design career? 

Landscape designers Edna Walling and Thomas Church have inspired Fiona. More broadly, Fiona has keen interest in modernist architecture and a passion for observing the natural world.

If you could invite any three people to a garden party who would they be? 

Three people Fiona would invite to a garden party are Joost Baker, Roberto Burle Marx and Bob Brown.


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