The Victorian Government has announced it will kick in $2.8 million in funding to get the Australian Garden, designed by landscape designer Philip Johnson, off the ground and contributing to tourism in the Dandenong Ranges.
Artists impression of Australian Garden
Announced this week, Acting Premier James Merlino has confirmed that the state government has agreed to front the $2.8 million needed to fund Mr Johnson’s Australian Garden at Olinda.
Quoted as being “over the moon”, Mr Johnson was very excited that he could proceed with plans to replicate the award-winning design that netted him Best in Show at London’s prestigious Chelsea Flower Show in 2013.
Philip Johnson and Wes Fleming take out Best in Show at the Chelsea Garden Show, 2013
Working with collaborator Wes Fleming of Fleming’s Group, Mr Johnson designed a billabong that boasted an array of ferns, bottle trees and a swath of wildflowers surrounding a waterfall. A timber structure in the shape of a waratah flower was a highlight of the project, helping them to scoop the win. Incorporating recycling principles and as many natural elements as possible, Mr Johnson stated of his Chelsea masterpiece that it had always been his desire to recreate the garden and “bring it back to the place that inspired me, back to the Dandenongs.”
Commercial landscape by Philip Johnson, De Bortoli, Griffith NSW
Combined with the $1 million kicked in by the state government to get the project started and $340,000 contributed by private donations, the $2.8 million funding will see Mr Johnson’s dream realised.
Mr Merlino, who chairs the Australian Garden’s committee and is the state member for Monbulk, said the public garden would be “a massive drawcard for the Dandenong Ranges and will attract visitors from around the country and the globe”.
While retaining many of the elements central to the original Chelsea design, the new version to be erected in Olinda will be more than 20 times the size. Set on 4000 square metres, on the site of the former Olinda Golf Course, the new garden will still feature a waterfall spilling into a billabong, rockeries, as well as a waratah sculpture designed by architect Dylan Brady.
Though eager to start, Mr Johnson is currently awaiting Shire of Yarra Ranges planning approval.
2011 MIFGS entry by Philip Johnson, Bathe
Via the Age