Landscape architect and University of Melbourne (Burnley) horticulture student Emma
Sheppard-Simms is the successful recipient of the inaugural Open Gardens Victoria (OGV) Student Garden Design Competition.
The grant provided $10,000 to design and install a vibrant garden at the OGV stand at the recent Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (MIFGS) 2023.
Emma’s winning garden design was built and installed by an all-female trade team, in what
is believed to be a first in the history of MIFGS.
“I’m delighted that Open Gardens Victoria has provided me with this opportunity. It’s so important that we showcase the skills of women currently working in the landscape industry. To this end, my garden will be entirely built by a team of female landscape architects, landscapers, horticulturists, and volunteers,” says Emma.
Open Gardens Victoria is a volunteer-run, non-profit organisation that promotes the benefits of gardens and gardening.
Dr Karen White, OGV’s Head of Giving, says Emma’s Garden design was selected from a strong field of applicants.
“The design stood out with its strong focus on the brief, demonstrating a diversity of plant
choices, sustainable practices, and the promotion of the health benefits of gardening, all within the bounds of a charming, achievable design,” said Karen.
“Emma’s proposal to put together an all-female installation team added extra appeal to the project. Our hope is that women who saw the garden at MIFGS will be encouraged to take up a career in horticulture.”
Called ‘A place for us’, the garden showcased the creative diversity of native plant species
while encouraging biodiversity, water-wise gardening, and the use of sustainable, locally-sourced materials. It demonstrated the power of gardens to accept and educate, to welcome and provide. It is a place for us all.
“Gardens are often described as healing and calming spaces that provide an escape from our worries,” says Emma. “But they can also be positive, energising spaces that remind us of the resilience and power of the living world. In celebration of this vitality, I have designed a garden that hums with colour, sensory, and textural interest – an inviting space that attracts visitors, insects, and birds alike.”
Emma’s team were outfitted by Green Hip Workwear, Australia’s first line of job-ready clothing for women, a 100% female owned and operated business based in Geelong (Vic.).
More information: www.opengardensvictoria.org.au