Well, the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (MIFGS) continues to inspire. There were some beautiful show gardens and I will share with you my favourites.
‘The Gardener’s Library – Aspiration’ was the first garden I saw and I think it remained my favourite at the end of the day. It rightly won a Gold medal, although it wasn’t the judges’ Best in Show. Designed by Vivid Design and brought together by localnurseries.com.au and Semken Landscaping, I felt this one really invited you in and made you want to sit in the library all day, reading garden books as you sit within and look out over the plantings. It also had a nice mix of formal and informal areas and great structure.
The judges’ Best in Show was called ‘The Patriarch’s Garden’, designed by Cycas Landscape Design.
This garden has a lovely story behind it, the Patriarch being Graham Browning and the paths mimicking the meandering nature of a family’s journey. There are beautiful foliage contrasts and a cosy seating area although for me, some of the taller cut stone work was a little jarring.
‘Tension’, by Paul Bangay was the final show garden to receive a Gold.
There is no doubt that this is a beautifully presented garden, designed by a very talented man. Despite there being more flowers than is often the case with Paul’s gardens, I can’t help wanting it to be a little softer. It all looks beautiful together and yet one glance and you have really seen it all. That is probably the horticulturist in me talking.
There were many other notable gardens, the first being ‘Emerge’ by Candeo Design. I thought the planting was beautiful, although perhaps the orange structure could have been a little further integrated into the garden.
‘Here & Now’ by Phillip Withers used some less common plants and produced a very bright and cheery effect. He also integrated some edibles, which is always fun to see and it came away with the Sustainability Award for the show.
The Muse by Natural Design was simple but effective, with some mature trees to give height and balance the cube structure.
Eckersley is a big name in Melbourne and I enjoyed the archway constructed out of decking materials. It was quite unusual planting, which I love to see, although I felt some of the combinations clashed somewhat. They used plants from very different natural settings and somehow these didn’t look quite right together.
It was nice to see some naturalistic planting style, almost a wildflower effect in Ian Barker’s design, albeit using exotic wildflowers. Perhaps larger clumps and more repetition would have reduced the tendency for a slightly bitty, messy look. I thought the colour choices were exceptional, particularly for an autumn display.
I loved two of the Boutique Garden displays. Firstly, James Ross’ beachside garden. The choice of materials and plants were absolutely spot on with the whole thing hanging together perfectly.
The second was Lisa Ellis Gardens’ ‘The Midnight Garden’. I loved the contrasting greens and the orange and greys worked very well together.
It was nice to see some natives in this garden by Philip Johnson. There were very few overall at the show. That man has so much passion; great for the industry.
Finally, a green roof presented by the University of Melbourne. How refreshing it is to see plants where you least expect them.