‘Crossroads’, Ian Barker’s entry in the 2015 Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (MIFGS), was a crowd favourite – and justifiably so. A lawn path, bordered by a frenzy of cornflowers, led into a secluded grey-blue terraced court where a luscious palette of perennials enclosed a reflective pond.
Presented by Australian House & Garden, Crossroads was inspired after Ian Barker Gardens‘ 2014 entry at MIFGS failed to reach the heights Ian had hoped for. So they contemplated whether to follow their passion and design another naturalistic garden, or pursue a more conventional approach – perhaps focusing more on hardscaping and a limited plant selection.
Luckily for MIFGS visitors they threw caution into the wind and lavished us with a sensory treat of unusual, richly textured plants. It wasn’t judged ‘Best in Show’ (we’ll share the winning ‘Quietude’ with you later), however a Gold Medal was really well deserved – plus it won the Horticultural Media Association Award for ‘Best Use of Plant Life’.
Draped foliage of Betula utilis var. jacqumontii and Pyrus betulaefolia ‘Southworth Dancer’ added elegance and filtered light, while Waterhousea floribunda and Magnolia grandiflora ‘Greenback’ formed deep green banks.
Both burgundy coloured Sambucus ‘Black lace’ and Physocarpus ‘Diabolo’ made deep highlights amongst lush verdant foliage. Green swathes of varying textures included Rodgersia sambucifolia and Asarum canadense. Ian hopes plants like Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’ will come back into favour in gardens.
Stands of Miscanthus ‘Flamingo’ were punctuation marks, contrasting with varying burgundy, purple and red flowering plants. Sanguisorba ‘Cangsham Cranberry’ have bright capsules of colour, and Sanguisorba ‘Tanna’ are sweet little button flowers floating above the leaves.
Mini spires of Persicaria affinis are bright sparks growing in pockets by the black reflective pond, and decorative laser cut cubes make ideal garden seats.
Non-gardeners would also come under the spell of Crossroads – surely finding the seasonal changes enchanting and exciting.
The reflective pond was added to bring tranquility and a sense of peace.
Dramatic, deeply coloured umbels of Angelica float above the green sea of foliage. This inspiring garden celebrated plants, with a happy juxtaposition of foliage and flowers, and cool toned pavers and benches. Keep true to your passion Ian – we love what you do.