Wes Fleming, of Fleming’s Group, is passionate about reimagining Victoria’s emerging communities into places of beauty. Find out how.
Sitting from his office in the little hillside town of Monbulk, Victoria, Wes Fleming oversees hundreds of acres of rolling fields where his ‘babies’ are growing. One of Australia’s premier producers of fruit and ornamental trees may consider himself a farmer has been quietly working on a big picture plan.
The vision is to help reimagine Victoria’s emerging communities into places of beauty with the help of well-designed and strong canopy covered communities.
That’s why, almost 20 years ago now, Wes established a business to help establish mature trees into new developments and councils. That ‘division’ of Fleming’s is now its own independent business – Fleming’s Landscapes, which houses not only planting crews but a fully staffed landscape design and architecture firm – Flow Design Studio, a landscape construction department and a maintenance division.
Wes is no stranger to defying the odds and taking the path less travelled after all he lead nine teams and designers to the Chelsea Flower Show under his Chelsea Experience project and helped put Australian landscape design on the map winning multiple old medals and finally Best in Show with designer Phillip Johnson.
Passion is at the root of it all, and a desire to get Australia back to a place where we are better than we have been.
Today Wes and his team helps developers envisage future communities that are designed with the right trees, that include a full-service operation including landscape masterplanning all the way through to council handover.
“We are vested in this vision. I can tell you it’s been no easy road to this point, but I can finally see that what I have been banging on about for decades is now resonating loudly in all parts of the community,” Wes says.
“We need trees and green spaces around us as people to feel safe, secure, to offer a higher quality of life. Well designed and treed communities are wealthier, they hold value, they are safer with less crime, people are happier, healthier and socially forward when they are surrounded by nature.
“There have been some serious leaps and bounds in the thinking of our government and councils too which is encouraging – the recent announcement to green the west has been of huge significance.
We need more councils jumping on the band wagon too. The old philosophy is true that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago but now is the second best.
Wes established Flow Design Studio to ensure that a new approach to design was taken, unflummoxed by the usual processes and ways of going about planning for landscapes.
“At Flow, we are not worried about what our contemporaries are doing. We don’t even think about them, all we care about is ensuring we get the best outcome for the landscape we are working in.
Flow Design Studio is not only focussed on commercial developments, it also has a domestic garden design team helping people make the most of their outdoor spaces from St Kilda and Moonee Bonds, to Blackburn and estate planning in larger rural estates.
“I love the diversity of what we are doing with Flow, we are fundamentally plants people, horticulturalists. Our most experienced and senior Landscape Architect for example started out as a qualified horticulturalist and started his career as a head gardener.
“We are passionate about ensuring the places we touch are infected by nature, by the beauty and value of the plants we specify. I guess we are ‘plantscapers’ first and foremost,” Wes says.
For more information about Fleming’s Landscapes and Flow Design Studio head to flowdesignstudio.com.au or click on the links below.