Thursday, May 30, 2024
An abundance of plants to admire, photograph and purchase (Image: MIFGS)
Industry Event

Stepping into nature

By Karen Smith

Garden lovers and green thumbs were treated to a botanical feast at the recent Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (MIFGS) 2024. From the moment visitors entered the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens the array of floral displays offered people the opportunity to see creative designs in every colour and form.

A stand-out display right in the centre of the building created by Collectors Corner Gardenworld could not be missed; each year they deliver something new and unique. “The Land that time forgot – where the past meets the present, an imaginative journey into the natural world from ancient era to the present, sprinkled with a touch of fantasy.” The creation of this display involved eight months of meticulous planning and preparation by their team and staff. It was no surprise they won two awards for their design which included a combination of rare and unusual plants, gemstones, fossils and ancient minerals as well as moving dinosaurs.

Visitors could rest their feet and enjoy Challenger ‘Seafood and Sips’ (Image: MIFGS)
Visitors could rest their feet and enjoy Challenger ‘Seafood and Sips’ (Image: MIFGS)

Floral displays, including Floral design, the RMIT Fashion Design Student displays, Visual displays and Botanical Moments as well as floral competitions all within the Exhibition building, captured the eyes of visitors with thousands of photographs being taken. All this before you even exit the building and enter the gardens.

MIFGS attracts garden enthusiasts, horticulturists, landscapes designers and other industry professionals. While some people may come along to see the Show gardens others come to gain inspiration for their own gardens, purchase plants and other garden goodies or to participate in workshops, view demonstrations or perhaps treat themselves to a two-course seafood menu paired with free-flowing drinks at the Challenger ‘Seafood and Sips.’ Whatever the reason, there was plenty to fill their day.

“The BAM Stone Garden” by Irishman Peter Donegan represents a love story that transcends time and distance (Image: Karen Smith)
“The BAM Stone Garden” by Irishman Peter Donegan represents a love story that transcends time and distance (Image: Karen Smith)

If inspiration is what was needed there was plenty to draw from with ten Show Gardens, nine Achievable Gardens, five Boutique Gardens, four Balcony Gardens and sixteen Border Gardens. What I noticed was the style of many of the gardens was quite different from previous years, with an emphasis on sustainability and conservation reflecting the growing awareness of taking care of the environment and using organic garden practices. The use of natural products such as stone and timber replicated the natural environment, using lots of native plants to attract wildlife and provide safe havens.

One garden, which was quite unique, was by Peter Donegan from Ireland. It’s not every day you would see a design with a small aircraft in it! However, Peter’s design told a beautiful story which “portrays the tale of two hearts separated by a small island off the coast of Galway to the mainland. The design aims to take visitors on a journey through a rocky, maritime landscape, reminiscent of the journey made across the Atlantic from the Connemara coast”

Chloe Thomson inspiring and encouraging school children (Image: Karen Smith)
Chloe Thomson inspiring and encouraging school children (Image: Karen Smith)

If we are going to attract young people into our industry, then garden shows like MIFGS are the perfect events for them to attend, with exhibits that encourage hands-on learning such as the Victorian Schools Program, the Wheen Bee Foundation, The Urban Plant Health Network (Agriculture Victoria) and the Horticultural Careers Hub, which included Melbourne Polytechnic, Box, Chisolm and Kangan Institute to name a few. Stall holders offered instruction and advice to any budding horticulturists.

There were over 150 exhibitors, ranging from garden clothes and tools, plant protection products and of course a myriad of pants, as well as things to grow them in such as raised garden beds and greenhouses.

Visitors could sit in on a seminar or take a hands-on approach and book into a workshop. Experts were scattered throughout the show at various stands to offer advice on an array of sustainable garden practices and to demonstrate innovative new products.

Live music added to the festive atmosphere of the show as people wandered through the gardens soaking up nature and all it had to offer.

A learning hub on sustainability and eco gardening (Image: Karen Smith)
A learning hub on sustainability and eco gardening (Image: Karen Smith)
The crowds enjoying the Collectors Corner Gardenworld display in the centre of the Exhibition Building (Image: Karen Smith)
The crowds enjoying the Collectors Corner Gardenworld display in the centre of the Exhibition Building (Image: Karen Smith)
This budding gardener oozed enthusiasm while potting up his plant at the Victorian Schools Garden Program stand (Image: Karen Smith)
This budding gardener oozed enthusiasm while potting up his plant at the Victorian Schools Garden Program stand (Image: Karen Smith)

The Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show 24

List of Awards

Through The Looking Glass designed by Stem Landscape Architecture & Design and ID Landscaping

Through The Looking Glass designed by Stem Landscape Architecture & Design and ID Landscaping

SaltBush designed by Phillip Withers and Fiona Brockhoff

New Nordic Notes designed by Zetterman and Björne

Inner Journey designed by Christian Jenkins Landscape Design and Margaret River Trees

Australian Idyll designed by Platylobium Landscape Design

A Moment in Time designed by Peter Donegan Design & Landscaping

Gratus designed by Riley Cooper Landscape Design & Horticulture

Through The Looking Glass designed by Stem Landscape Architecture & Design and ID Landscaping

Through The Looking Glass designed by Stem Landscape Architecture & Design and ID Landscaping

Through The Looking Glass designed by Stem Landscape Architecture & Design and ID Landscaping

1st Place – Innersanctum designed by Paul Pritchard Landscape Design

2nd Place – Breath of Fresh Air designed by Paul Alexander Landscape

3rd Place – Coastal Waves designed by Smart Landscapes

1st  – In Living Colour designed by Panacea Landscapes

2nd – Elysium “Balc-style” designed by Inspiring Landscape Solutions

3rd – Captivity designed by Darren Chesterfield, and

       –  Shootin’ the Breeze designed by Filiform and Maplestone Gardens

1st – Oasis designed by Emma Sheppard and La Muxlow

2nd – Equilibrium designed by Magda Kazmierczak of MJ Gardens

3rd – Mermaids Enclave designed by Josie Jones OAM of SHARE Sustainability Agency

1st – Mountain Landscape designed by Seb Ryder from Melbourne Polytechnic

‘Look Within’ by Madeleine Holyman & Andrew Sargood from London College of Garden Design

Ellen Freeman from Holmesglen

Leigh Hudson from Melbourne Polytechnic

‘Look Within’ by Madeleine Holyman & Andrew Sargood from London College of Garden Design

Leigh Hudson from Melbourne Polytechnic

Ellen Freeman from Holmesglen

Zoe Hibberson from Holmesglen

Justin Rhodes from Melbourne Polytechnic

Sebastian Blacket from Holmesglen

Taylah Priestly from Advanced Community College

Jamie Greentree from Melbourne Polytechnic

Angelo Cammaroto from Open Colleges

The Posy Crew

Marjorie Milner College Designed by Dayne Robinson

The Gordon

Pinkie Promise Designed by Dayne Robinson

Canberra Sustainable Floristry Group with Canberra Institute of Technology Smithers Oasis by Richard Go Designs

Ikebana International Melbourne

Florals by Pemberley of Malmsbury

Botany & Grown Not Flown

Box Hill Institute Floristry

Flowers by Nici Wildblooms Floristry

Collectors Corner, Gardenworld

Big Leaf Boutique

Thrive Flower School

Alchemy Orange

Sarah Coffey

Floral Architecture

1st – Kristina Bircak from Krystalis

2nd– Linh Hoang from Florii Flower Studio

3rd – Kristin McFarlane

1st – Monique Kane of Melbourne Polytechnic

2nd– Chinh Chung of Holmesglen Institute

3rd– Jasmine Watson of Box Hill Institute

1st – Zoe Roberts of Marjorie Milner College

2nd– Chantal Williams of Melbourne Polytechnic

3rd – India Robinson of Marjorie Milner College

1st – Dayne Robinson

2nd – Wenjuan Liu

3rd – Jasmine Woodward

Leave a Reply