Fresh Landscape Design won the chance to be part of the Australian Institute of Landscape Designers and Managers' first ever show garden at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (MIFGS) in 2014 'Place Grow Shift'. MIFGS is a busy place - full of pretend gardens conjured up in just a few days after months or even years of planning to give the illusion of having been there forever.
The show garden below by Cycas Landscape Design was a gold medal winner.
The idea for the AILDM show garden 'Place Grow Shift' challenged the concept of the fixed garden showpiece. Instead the garden was to be rearranged at midday each day into a new design - five gardens in five days - using all the same materials and plants. A set of movable cubes, screen panels, coloured cylinders and plants were created and the call went out to designers to sketch their ideas for the chance to build their garden at MIFGS.
In the Fresh office near Canberra our landscape architects puzzled for a day over the brief, the fixed palette of materials, and how to create the illusion of a courtyard garden. Eventually we ducked into the local supermarket for supplies and made a model using pieces of kitchen sponge.
And then our landscape architects made some drawings of the garden design to explain the idea to the judges.
When the Fresh team arrived at MIFGS the third Place Grow Shift design was in place. This design by Jason Cahill from Botanical Traditions was based on the idea of creating a playground for the kangaroo paw. Great to see such a different interpretation of the brief.
At midday the AILDM team began transforming the garden into the Fresh design. It all had to be done in an hour while the crowd watched. No pressure...
We were pretty happy when it was all finished.
Our design was for a courtyard garden with an entry featuring a window full of kangaroo paw and the bold red cylinders showing off the amazing foliage textures of the native plant material. Look it's just like the sketch!
The crowd just wanted to be in amongst it (sadly not possible because of insurance restrictions).
The garden was only for one day so we took a lot of photos to capture the moment.
The garden sitting space and the entry window with kangaroo paw. Thanks to Stephen's dog for lending his pillows for the day.
Beautiful native plant material to work with.
Looking through the wild garden and 'green walls' - well the idea of them anyway. The teapot and cups were felted.
Now the plan had been to wrap our garden up in frost blanket on the following day - a comment about fashionable gardens smothering nature.
After much discussion it was decided that the message might not be understood without a lot of explaining, and we were already doing a lot of explaining so the prospect of doing even more was daunting. Luckily we had a bunch of designers on hand to solve the problem of how to source another design in a hurry. We decided to have a go at crowd sourcing the design.
Ben Trend, a landscape architecture student, was passing by and volunteered for the challenge.
So with one hour, a pen and the back of an envelope, Ben worked up a new design for the sitting space quarter of the garden and the Place Grow Shift team put it into place for the last afternoon.