March 2025


Preview the 2020 Boutique Gardens

The Show will proudly play host to the Landscaping Victoria Boutique Garden Competition – a unique opportunity for Landscape Designers, Landscape Architects and Students to participate in the Show.

In 2020, to celebrate the Show’s 25th Anniversary, six previous 1st place winning designers will return showcasing their exceptional design talent, pushing design boundaries with their innovation & creativity.

The 6 designers that will be showcasing their talent are:

  • STEM Landscape Architecture & Design
  • Octopus Garden Design
  • Acre Landscape Architecture
  • AKAS Landscape Architecture
  • Alison Douglas Design
  • Ben Harris Gardens

Take a look at some of the 2020 Boutique Garden plans to give you a taste of what to expect at the Show…

Octopus Garden Design

‘Jardin Noir’ 2020 Boutique Garden

It was mere days after accepting the invitation to do another boutique garden that the world stood still in horror as the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris became ablaze with fire. As the days passed, we saw images of the structure filled with the burnt ruins of the roof spire laying scattered in piles of smouldering black twisted steel & timber next to historic stone statues, gold ornaments & irreplaceable stained-glass windows. I recalled my own recent trip to Paris, visiting the Cathedral, the awe-inspiring formal gardens of Versailles palace and getting lost wandering the pathways of the Père Lachaise Cemetery.

The Cemetery opened in 1804 & now covers 110 acres filled with winding stone pathways, statues, wrought iron, stone monuments, ornate gothic tombs with beautiful lead light panels shadowed by the forest like canopy of trees, rambling vines and shrubs. Scattered amongst the necropolis of granite & marble tombs & headstones are bursts of colour from flower bouquets left by the many thousands of mourners & visitors adding contrast against the gloomy backdrop.

It’s the family of the deceased responsibility to maintain each grave and its surroundings, which in many cases has let them go to ruin by the elements, vandals & nature. Many tomb doors are open and covered in moss & vegetation with sunlight shining through beautiful small stained-glass window panels adding colour to the otherwise creepy environment, yet the atmosphere is calm and beautiful.

We have embraced this concept to create our Jardin Noir that is dark & creepy but beautiful. Our French influenced modern gothic style combines symmetry, balance and scale with natural stones, burnt & stained timber, black steel, contrasting colours and textures with a touch of drama, disorder and ruin of the past…

Octopus Garden Design

STEM Landscape Architecture & Design

‘Through The Looking Glass’ 2020 Boutique Garden

Have you ever wondered what happens below? ‘Through the Looking Glass’ aims to spark curiosity and wonder about what we can’t always see. Ecosystems all over the world bloom and flourish thanks to the intricate connections formed below the surface. We want you to see and imagine what’s going on underneath your feet, and all around you.
While soil is teeming with life, much of this activity cannot be seen with the naked eye. What we can see however is the activity of worms, and the mycorrhizal networks created by plant roots and fungi mycelium.
Steppers that lead through the garden are imprinted with the tracks of spotted quolls, bandicoots, and brush tailed rock wallabies, which were once abundant in the greater Melbourne area. They are a reminder to us that we are sharing this planet with countless other creatures and have a role to play in minimizing species extinction. ‘Through the looking glass’ aims to blur the boundaries between the built and natural environments and demonstrates the possibilities for integrating habitat into your backyard- both above ground and below.
From the surface, Mother Nature can appear to work in mysterious ways- but we encourage you to take a closer look and you’ll see how many ecosystems are all connected in the formation of ‘Through the Looking Glass’.
Carlton Gardens are situated on the lands of the Kulin Nation people and we wish to respectfully acknowledge them as Traditional Owners. We would like to pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

STEM Landscape Architecture & Design

Alison Douglas Design


We will be releasing more 2020 Boutique Garden concepts shortly.

The Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show will return to the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens on the 25 – 29 March 2020 for its 25th anniversary Show.


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