More Magic MIFGS Gardens


(Please note: as this blog has been transferred from our old website some images are low resolution).

‘EMERGE – THE FAMILY LIFE GARDEN’ by Candeo Design was quirky and exciting. Home to Willie Wildlife sculptures including ‘Joseph’, the snail, the garden was presented to help promote Family Life, a charity providing family assistance to at-risk families across Melbourne. The team included Semken LandscapingBay Road Nursery and Atkinson – Pontifex, and  Warner’s Nurseries. Flower sculptures reaching high like brollies above the garden represented ‘the uncertainty of life’ while beneath, the plant palette in hues of green and grey, was richly textural.

The delightfully informal garden ‘LEFT OVERS’ by Ian Barker Gardens addressed population increases and urbanisation in Melbourne. A recycled shipping container central to the site served as a ‘pop up’ cafe –  and had it actually been open for business i’m sure it would have been very popular!  Looking at ‘left over spaces’ the design included naturalistic plantings which were ‘aesthetically pleasing but sustainable’.

“We want the garden to feel like an urban oasis where people can soak in nature despite being in the midst of bustling and fast paced city”.

For more information on this design, and those involved, visit their blog here.

The focal point in ‘THE MUSE’ an elegant design by Peta Donaldson from Natural Design, was a cor-ten ‘Cube’ by Lump Sculpture Studio. Constructed by Sceam Construction, the design, although detailed and including a pond, pavilion and various levels, had an air of serenity. For more details visit Natural Design’s website.

‘HERE & NOW’ designed by a young designer Phillip Withers also won Honda’s Sustainable Award. It was a pretty hectic site – brimful with both edible and decorative plants, a chook hutch, water tanks, a fish pond, pots, a children’s swing (precariously positioned close to granite slabs), an entertaining area, and behind a partition – even a lovely outdoor bathroom. Designed for a young family in mind, every inch of the site was considered – and most materials used were recycled. I’ve included a pic showing the perspective of the site – on a corner – beneath a large conifer. Contributors included Semken Landscaping and Gardenworld. Read Phillip’s blog for all the details. Espaliered and standard plants ensured that maximum use was made of the space, and the plant palette was exuberant.

Even the tiles in the outdoor bathroom were recycled.


‘THE QUIET GARDEN’ designed by Ros McCully Garden Designs & constructed byStr8line LandscapingA78  had several pleasing elements. There were quite a few different surfaces and features: pavers, gabion walls, a timber boardwalk, and lawn.  The long black wall was in contrast to the delicate cut-out pattern on a white wall; and touches of red were accents. I wouldn’t have called it ‘quiet’ though – but it did signal carefree living.

‘HUNTER BLACK DESIGN’, boldly combining strong architectural elements with simple plantings, won ‘The People’s Choice Award’. A partnership between landscape designer Jake Adamsons and interior designer Katie Alexandra, Hunter Black focuses on the built environment:  inside and outside living hold equal importance.

‘Happiness Grows’ – designed & constructed in conjunction with the Tree & Shrub Growers Vic by Seasons Landscapes & Parks Wide. Just delightful.


For the first time this year designers were able to submit ideas for a boutique garden. Five entries selected to be built at MIFGS were finalists for theLANDSCAPING VICTORIA BOUTIQUE GARDEN AWARD.  The winner was ‘THE MIDNIGHT GARDEN’ designed by Lisa Ellis Gardens.  With advice from an astronomer (seriously!) this garden was the perfect nook for star-gazing, complete with telescope – and carefully placed round stone spheres aligned with planets and constellations. The Milky Way was represented in the bespoke glass panel at the rear of the garden which glistened as water rippled down its surface. To one side, another opaque panel wore planetary etchings.

Second place winner was ‘PENINSULAR’ designed by James Ross Landscape Design whose work ‘is inspired by the ocean and natural coastal dune, scrub vegetation environments of the Mornington Peninsula’s coastline’. It was an evocative design – conjuring easy memories of seaside holidays, and the hardy but subtle, beautiful flora that thrives there.

The simple timber paneling and screen were the perfect, earthy materials for the site.

Third place, BREEZE’, by Arbour Landscaping Group aimed to:

‘link you with nature and its soothing surroundings’.

There were some fabulous ideas, including a swing suspended from a cor-ten arc, strappy leaved wall art, large stepping stones and lovely ground covers etc…. but perhaps the bath was one element too many: they needed a large canvas.

‘A SMALL SPACE IN TIME’ by Ross Ubergang from Ross U Design & Landscapshowcased:

‘functions, life and contemporary design while limiting the impact on the environment’.

This space had a unique ambience – almost folly-like, and the mystical quality was enhanced by the low-set table amidst grasses and perennials.

‘ECHOES’ BY Trevor Griffett’s Broadleaf Landscapes was a multi-faceted design echoing:

‘the rich, contrasting, natural and cultural influences found in all Australian gardens”.

After twenty years working in law and bush fire policy Trevor’s comparatively recent foray into landscape design paid off with an invitation to present a garden at MIFGS!

The Nursery & Garden Industry of Victoria‘s own display, with a vertical wall, cor-ten cut-out paneling, a board walk – and masses of plants, especially natives – had input from Chelsea 2013 winner Phillip Johnson.



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