Apr 11, 2012

MIFGS 2012 :: the gardens...

Oh my goodness...where to start?
The Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show 
is always an enchanted visit to the far realms of landscape imagination.
And it always makes me want to run home to start planting immediately!
This year's event, 
held last week,
had a very distinct recycled theme
(more on that later),
with a touch of humour sprinkled throughout the designs.
And these fabulous moulded seats,
as part of the gold-winning Nord Garden by Marnie Lewis Design,
were typical of the fun.
(And before you ask,
there were 2 shapes: male and female.)
But beauty wasn't forgotten either,
in the quest for designing gardens which truly invite one to linger.
Enjoying the charms of the garden
from the shelter of an alfresco cocoon is a charming way to linger.
Aptly titled "Conversation",
this garden by Paal Grant Designs
played with the repetition of curves in the corten steel terraced steps,
circular seating & motifs.
It picked up a gold medal too.
The fun & fantasy of floating steps.
How exactly are they staying there???
Another element of humour & wit,
this time from Dan Piper,
in an absolutely beautiful garden which made time stand still.
The event is held in one of my favourite spots in Melbourne, 
in the glorious Royal Exhibition building & the surrounding Carlton Gardens.
My husband's office window overlooks this botanica,
and he reports on the busy progress of gardens which appear 
in merely a few days, as if by magic.
And then just as quickly, 
they are gone.
Like gnomes in the night,
the designers must work swiftly,
and yet the gardens look as if they have been there forever.
There's a mirror here.
Can you find it?
Fascinating Bird's Nest Ferns,
a very ancient plant with the most luscious bright green leaves.
More illusions...a floating bench seat, 
simply growing out of the hill.
Phillip Johnson's "Equilibrium" garden, possibly my favourite,
had winding creeks & billabongs with flowering gums,
with an emphasis on using every drop of water which falls in situ,
rather than pumping in fresh drinking water for the garden.
My kind of thinking!
The cubby house competition included this fabulous one,
inspired by the notion of a bird's nest,
and designed by the Premier of Victoria, Ted Baillieu,
who trained as an architect.
Not your everyday cubby - but it'd be great for bird watching!  
 Mondo grass between paving stones. 
(I took this photo for my clients on the House on the Hill project,
because we are also using mondo plantings on our front steps.)
"Coffee St" by Social Designer was witty & fun, 
using coffee cups to hold the vertical plantings,
milk crates for seating &....
...coffee beans for gravel. 
Oh yum!
(What would Rumbah say? He'd be in heaven!)
Are you still with me?
Because there is one last thing I want to show you!
Oh, I can find hats anywhere, you see!
These were part of the sculpture walk.
Aren't they fabulous?

And they are a terrific reminder 
of the importance of a touch of humour 
in the garden, just as in life itself.

images :: all taken by blue fruit at MIFGS 2012
for more information :: MIFGS


  1. Replies
    1. And I reckon the wild birds in the garden would too! What a great bird feeder they would make.

  2. Thank you so much for all the fantastic photos...almost like being there! What a wonderful exhibition and so many clever people and ideas. I love the floating bench seat - so whimsical. I agree that the Phillip Johnson garden is gorgeous. It reminds me of the in laws' farm north of Perth. They operate organically with vegetables and 'walking beef' and the gardens just meander amongst the gums and bush. But then I love the Australian landscape so anything with Australian natives pulls me in. Annie x.

    1. Me too, Annie. The smell of eucalyptus makes me go weak at the knees. Whenever we travel overseas, the first thing I have to do when we get home is race over to a gum tree and breathe in deep!!!

  3. I am sooo jealous! I would have loved to be there. Thankyou for sharing. These photos are inspirational. x

    1. It's a great event. Before we lived in Melbourne, I used to fly across to see it because it is such a marvelous celebration of imaginative gardening. Of course, it's luxury now to have it on my doorstep, but I figured it would be nice to share for those who can't get there as easily.

  4. Hey! Thanks for featuring my coffee obsessed garden! More images here if you like http://socialdesigner.com.au/architecture/coffee-street/


    Esther Sugihto

    1. Oh hello Esther! I loved your design - in fact I could have done a whole post about it because it is such a truly Melbourne garden - all that yummy coffee! - and so deliciously tongue in cheek.

  5. I'm always amazed at the talent Australia has when it comes to design ... and you definitely have shown that here Virginia! With lots of humour thrown in ...
    I know Jim Fogarty's native Australian garden won gold in his category last year at the Chelsea flower show ... a show I must try and get to this year!

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful photographs ... those hat sculptures are amazing!

    1. From a completely selfish point of view, please do go to the Chelsea show and post the images Marina. I could stamp my (good foot) that we didn't get there when we lived in London. It was always that "oh we can go anytime, we needn't go this year" which of course means that now I can't! I've learnt my lesson here though, and never miss the Melbourne show.

      I loved Jim Fogarty's design for Chelsea last year - so many exciting possibilities with the native plants - such architecturally wild forms.

  6. Thanks for the photos. I didn't get there this year x

  7. Now I'm speechless with so many fabulous details, like those corten steel steps, that terrace is wonderful, really!

  8. how did I miss this post!?! Beautiful. inspiring. and no, I couldn't find the mirror.

  9. I was thrilled to see that you had photographed Claudia and Celeste, my hat ladies. Glad you liked them.


Oh! Thank you for leaving me a comment!

Just a quick note: this is about a conversation - it's not a place to advertise. So please do not include self-promotion as your comment will not be published.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...