The ninth and final entry for Chelsea Flower Show stalwarts, Fleming’s Nurseries, the Trailfinders Australian Garden presented by Fleming’s was not only awarded with a prestigious Gold Medal but also with the ‘Best in Show’ honour which has eluded the team for so many years.
Designed by sustainable landscaper, Phillip Johnson of Phillip Johnson landscapes, the Best in Show medal at what is regarded as the ‘Olympics of the horticulture world’, represents something of a career zenith for the already highly-awarded landscape firm.
“Being involved in Chelsea was a dream come true for myself and my team. Winning an award amongst contemporaries of this calibre is absolutely mind-blowing. We couldn’t be more proud of what we have achieved, it’s been an incredible experience,” exclaimed Johnson.
“We came here with a very ambitious vision – to showcase Australia, our horticultural industry and to educate the world on the possibilities of sustainable landscape design.
“This presented challenges from the other side of the world, but we knew we only had one chance to make the impact necessary to educate, and that’s what we have done,” he said.
Founder, team leader and ‘The Godfather’ of the Trailfinders Australian Garden presented by Fleming’s campaigns, Wes Fleming of Fleming’s Nurseries, said the Best in Show medal had fulfilled a life-long dream.
“I have dreamed of this moment since I was a little boy growing up on the nursery with Mum and Dad regaling tales of the Chelsea Flower Show.
“ I’ve been chasing this honour for my whole adult life so to have been awarded not only a coveted gold medal but a Best in Show at the world’s most highly regarded horticultural event, is a moment no words can describe.
“This is the ninth and final garden to ever be presented by Fleming’s Nurseries so to go out on such a high is just incredible.
“Phillip Johnson’s garden is absolutely stunning and obviously the judges thought so too. The design is an incredible display of Australian horticulture and a timely reminder of how we can be more sustainable in our management of our most precious resource - water, in our gardens at home. “Australian horticulture and landscape design are at the cutting edge of the worldwide industry and this medal is just icing on the cake.
“I am truly privileged to be a part of this new movement where landscape design and horticulture is held in such high esteem. My hope is that someone will continue to carry the Chelsea flame after we have left our mark as it would be such a shame to never see another Australian Garden entry to the Chelsea Flower Show in the future,” he said.
This year’s Trailfinders Australian Garden presented by Fleming’s is a sustainable habitat complete with monolithic stone gorge, running waterfalls, a studio structure and billabong.
Renowned for his approach to sustainable landscape and garden design, Phillip Johnson’s design is maintained by an integrated water management system which is independent from mains water and reduces the impact on the storm water infrastructure by retaining and recycling storm water run-off.
A three metre-cubed home ‘studio’ structure, designed by Melbourne-based architecture firm, Studio 505, was a key feature in the garden’s design and had been crafted specifically for the Queen’s height.
The finished design took a total of 17 days and over 2,500 man-hours to build, transforming what once resembled a bare soccer pitch into a sustainable garden retreat.
Wes Fleming said a team of 18 volunteers, using 38 tonnes of tools, equipment, materials and plants sourced both locally and abroad had been the foundation of the team’s success.
“We couldn’t have done it without the dedication and support of our 18 volunteer crewmen and our families, not just in 2013 but on every show garden we’ve ever presented since we first arrived at Chelsea back in 2004.
“So we will share this medal with everyone who has enjoyed the Chelsea experience with us along the way,” he said.
This is Fleming’s Nurseries’ ninth medal in as many years with the team previously winning four silver-gilt and four gold medals. Fleming will hang up his boots at the close of this year’s event to focus on new projects back on home soil.
The 2013 Chelsea Flower Show is now open to the public from May 21 – 25 in the grounds of the Chelsea Hospital in London.
For more information on this year’s Trailfinders Australian Garden presented by Fleming’s Nurseries, please visit www.flemings.com.au/chelsea2013