25 - 29 MARCH 2020


Boutique Gardens

The Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show will once again host the Landscaping Victoria Boutique Garden Competition – a unique opportunity for Landscape Designers, Landscape Architects and Students to participate at The Melbourne International Flower and Garden 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.

This year’s Boutique Gardens will be designed by:

 STEM Landscape Architecture & Design


‘Through the Looking Glass’ aims to spark curiosity and wonder about what we cannot always see. Ecosystems and gardens all over the world bloom and flourish thanks to the intricate connections between flora, fauna, fungi and bacteria formed below the surface. We want to help you see what’s going on underneath your feet so take a closer look through the underground windows to reveal the complexities behind soil and water environments. Following first place in the Boutique Gardens category in 2017 and a silver medal in the 2018 Show Gardens category, we are excited to return to MIFGS in 2020 with an intriguing garden that provides a glimpse into life below the surface.The movement of water from the green roof, shower and stream passively irrigates and cools the space. A restored claw-foot bath provides a place for relaxation and wonder whilst being immersed in the luscious garden surrounds. The planted green roof has an open skylight that allows natural light to enter the room and provides a portal for stargazing from the bath.Our treasured natural ecosystems are increasingly threatened and vulnerable. We have focused on using durable and reclaimed materials to design a timeless garden that minimises the impact our industry has on the environment. This garden features over 75% Victorian plant species to support local fauna by providing food and habitat, whilst creating a resilient landscape.

At STEM we aim to contribute to the health of our ecosystems and communities by continuing to learn and sharing this knowledge and passion through our design work. We hope that ‘Through the Looking Glass’ can contribute to a holistic approach to landscape architecture and design, as well as an appreciation for the complexities of our ecosystems for future generations.


Octopus Landscape Design


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…


 Acre Landscape Architecture

AKAS Landscape Architecture


Alison Douglas Design


Ben Harris Gardens





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