Meadows, walls, and home grown goodness


garden design trends at this year’s Melbourne Flower and Garden Show 2015

After 20 years, the Melbourne Flower and Garden Show (MFGS) has a sense of quiet confidence to its displays and show gardens and continues to be a crowd pleaser for five frenetic days.

In Melbourne this year, autumn weather has well and truly settled in and when strolling along the show garden avenue, I found the subdued light gave the displays a feeling of introspection encouraging closer review.

This year the overall design atmosphere was one of coming back to the home with glimpses of outdoor rooms that were extensions of interior living spaces complete with tea sets, luxurious grape vine verandas and raised sumptuous edible borders that enveloped the familiar outdoor chair and table dining areas.

Colour palettes rested in the darker palettes of purple, violet, maroon, crimson and rouge found in swathes of mass plantings and tucked away in corners across a wide range of show gardens.

Show garden highlights

Philip Johnson was in fine form with his show garden paying homage to the ANZACS with hundreds of hand crocheted poppies made by volunteers and displayed throughout on grass and next to a waterhole. The planting was in the theme of an Australian dry landscape dominated by Xanthorrhoea grass trees, banksias and the RSL Spirit of ANZAC grevillea, a tough hybrid especially created at the request of the Returned and Services League as a tribute to all of Australia’s fallen.  While this garden was architecturally striking, it would be a hard one to replicate in cooler climates.

The good old veggie patch was reinterpreted into a super stylish happy hour in Phillip Withers Food Forest with its mix of flowering perennials nestled amongst herb favourites. Its friendly and relaxed look encouraged people to give home grown produce a go and that is always a good thing.

For hard landscaping lushness I couldn’t go past the sinuous dry bluestone walls that hugged Mark Browning and Lisa Ellis’s show garden Quietude. The combination of hard blue grey stone against green lawns and mounded shrubs is always gorgeous.

One of my favourite show gardens was all fun, no pretension. The Bee Keepers Garden by Jenny Smith Gardens extended its buzzy theme even to the bee stamped motif on its paving tiles and the Exhibition garden bees loved it.

The achievable gardens produced by various institutes across Melbourne are always a worthwhile visit. Here I was impressed by The Crossroads by Ben Newell at Swinburne University of Technology creating a cottage style through clever use of soft Australian plants.

My favourite plant for the show was Sanguisorba ‘Cangsham Cranberry’ such a wonderful surprise with its autumn display of tall floating bobbles resembling juicy mulberries and bend in the slightest breeze.

Overall while there weren’t so many striking pieces on display, the MFGS garden style was certainly attainable with a thoughtful range of ideas on offer that would fit cosy lifestyles and realistic budgets.

The Quietude Show Garden 2015

The Quietude Show Garden 2015