Floriade, the biggest flower show in the Southern Hemisphere, held at the Commonwealth Park, Canberra, 11 September – 10 October, was more beautiful and ground-breaking than ever.
The Floriade ACTEW Corporation Showcase Garden competition demonstrated creative and innovative garden design and landscaping ideas .Using the concept of ‘outdoor living and entertaining’ to reflect the 2010 Imagination theme the entrants were asked to consider water conservation and alternative energy use. Local designers, landscapers, horticultural students and industry organisations created beautiful gardens to compete for the grand prize, $10,000 in travel vouchers.
This year’s Golden Medal Winner was ‘Balcony Overlooking Downtown Mars’ created by Sow What team headed by Melanie Neist and including Leigh Bason, Lisa Twomey and Dennis Lamb. The spectacular garden included a bright orange portable hot tub and a hand-painted graffiti wall depicting Mars.
“This is the first time we’ve entered Floriade and ours wasn’t a traditional garden so we were really surprised to win,” Melanie said.
Melanie explained the story behind the garden is a world where the human race have exhausted our resources, destroyed the plant and had to move to Mars. Sow What wanted people to imagine survival on Mars and the products they could use.
“I’m part of 1 Million Women Against Climate Change and wanted to show people new recycled products,” Melanie revealed. “Everything in the display is environmental. The vertical garden was created from woolly pockets which are 99.9% recycled from water bottles. These can be used by the home gardener and are fairly inexpensive starting from $65.”
“The Dutch tub used in the garden is completely portable,” Melanie continues. “Although it can connect to a gas supply it doesn’t need a power source - hydraulically pumping heat from a wood fire. The lightweight 75kg tub was designed by Swedish designer Floris Schoonderbeek and is Australian-made. It also has a garden hose attachment so water can be recycled. As with all the products in the garden its, available in our online store.”
The vinyl flooring is derived from vegetable material and completely sustainable and the Butter Stools are 100% recycled from milk bottles designed by Nicholas Karlovasitis and Sarah Gibson. The stunning graffiti wall depicting the Mars theme was created by local artist Lisa.
“Many people are often space poor and only have balconies rather than garden. I want to get the message out that you can use that space, grow veggies, do whatever you want to create a piece of outdoor serenity. Most importantly I wanted to show you can do it sustainably and inexpensively,” Melanie says.
“Our industry tends to be hesitant about using new products but I wanted to demonstrate there is a market for it. Landscapers have to support new innovations; if we don’t promote these as options to our customers they will fall by the wayside,” concludes Melanie.
Silver medal winner and Gold medal winner for 2009, were Utopian gardens.
Luke Skipper from Utopia Landscapes revealed that it took two weeks to develop their beautiful garden.
“We used sandstone paving, stepping stones over the pond as well as a steel sculpture. We also used a lot of typical drought hardy plants like bamboo,” Luke said.
“I’d built a staircase so you’d have to imagine what was behind it; you know what humans are like, they will want to find out what’s on the other side so they have to use their imaginations.”
Be sure to mark 17 September - 16 October 2011 in your diary for Floriade next year at the Commonwealth Park, Canberra.
Photo Caption (left to right) – Winning Showcase Garden by Sow What.; Sow What team Melanie Neist, Leigh Bason Lisa Twomey and Dennis Lamb; Silver medal winning garden by Utopia Landscapes ; Utopia Landscapes team.