Having just got back from the inaugural Australian Garden Show Sydney (September 2013), I am feeling very inspired. There were some great speakers and I will share with you some of my favourite show gardens.
Having explored them all, I have to say that I think I would agree with the judges. This garden very skillfully belies the fact that it is a show garden. There is very natural looking planting (despite the fact that the plants are presumably still in their plastic pots beneath the mulch), a good balance of foliage and flower colour, beautifully chosen landscaping materials and some quite unusual features. Water always adds a huge dimension to a garden and the result is really quite stunning. Nothing jars in this garden.
Another gorgeous garden (above) was designed by Katie Burgess. The judges awarded her a Silver for ‘The Hive’. This one does look like a show garden with most plants simultaneously in the peak of their lifecycle but the effect is gorgeous. The hard landscaping materials work very well together and are creative in their form and the restrained colour palatte gives a sophisticated feel. The pergola draws you in, exactly as a garden should. A very well thought through garden design.
The garden above is called ‘September Sky’ and was designed by visiting designers Andrew Fisher Tomlin and Tom Harfleet from the UK. It was the largest show garden and reflected the designers impressive experience from Chelsea. I loved the contrasting bold and small leaved foliage and the very Australian feel they created with rocks and gum trees.
The two photos above show Myles Baldwin’s ‘Sydney Gardenesque’. I thought it was great to have such a true Sydney garden displayed. It won the award for a sense of place, in my opinion. It looked as though it had been there forever; something that is not easy to pull off. Myles is very skilled at providing a real depth of interest through a wide range of planting material whilst avoiding the outcome of a bitty, piecemeal overall result.
The garden above, ‘Viridus…Green & Blooming’, was designed by the Melbourne designer, Phillip Withers. I loved the soft planted boundaries and artistic circular green wall features. It is always nice to see very full, green landscapes with hard landscaping which shows off the plants rather than overpowers them.
Again, Jim Fogarty’s ‘The Last to Leave’ garden provided a wide variety of plant material in a very informal planting style. With the beds being arranged in a formal layout this combination works well. The colours of foliage and flowers are very cleverly combined.
Finally, this is Charlie Albone’s garden, ‘See What’s Possible’. It could almost be in his former home country of England. I love the freshness of spring that jumps out at you!
In summary, I guess the difference I see between this show and other Australian shows of recent years is a trend towards more seasonal planting and less of the evergreen, minimalist block planting. In Sydney it is important to have plenty of evergreen to make the garden appealing for all 12 months of the year but from my perspective I am invigorated to see a wider choice of plant material and quite complex planting which holds your attention for minutes and hours rather than one blink and you have seen it all. I loved the show!
Which garden do you like best?