Sustainability & style shine at 2012 Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show

Sustainable landscape design

Phillip Townshend  here, writing from the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.

Once again, I’m reminded of why we live in Melbourne, Australia (voted one of the world’s most liveable cities on multiple occasions). It’s autumn here, and I’m enjoying sunny days and mild temperatures along with the inspiring atmosphere of the world-renowned Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. (Regarded as the largest and most successful horticultural even in the Southern Hemisphere, the even is now entering its 17th year.)




Staged within the Grand Dame of Melbourne (the World Heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building and the surrounding Carlton Gardens in the center of Melbourne City), the show is well established in the psyche of Australians as a “must see” event with visitors from around the globe.

The World Heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building, home of the annual MIFGS show each year

Featuring the best landscape and floral talent Australia has to offer, the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show is a celebration of Australian lifestyle and our great outdoors. This year’s popular themes have been sustainability and style, and how to combine them in ways even novice gardeners can do.

For me, this year’s highlights included:

Recycled pallets and discarded beds to create cool raised vegetable beds.


recycled materials in the garden

Repurposed old tires, old cans and wheelbarrows make an interesting, inexpensive and entertaining water feature.

Inspirational floral design with the conventional interpreted in flowers, fruit and root vegetables. I’m not sure about the longevity of a wedding dress made of garlic, but it would certainly protect the bride against cold & flu (and keep the vampires away):

Award-winning floral designs using garlic to create a unforgettable wedding dress


Floral designs

Inspirational floral design with the period dress interpreted in flowers, fruit and root vegetables

Amazing combinations of Australian stone and plants all demonstrating the possibilities for us to use our gardens as an extension of the house (i.e. an outside room that just flows):

Unique combinations of Australian stone and plants create endless design possibilities


My favorite treat was seeing one of my favorite plants (and one of our own), Tropicanna cannas, included throughout the Carlton Gardens, looking resplendent with the sun shining through their amazing foliage.

Tropicanna cannas

Tropicanna cannas steal the show in Carlton Gardens – home of the Annual Melbourne Flower and Garden Show in Australia


So once again, I return home from the show with a thousand ideas of what improvements can be made in my own garden. I’ll then spend the rest of the year trying to decide where the design ideas can be replicated in my own surrounds, and how I can start these multiple projects in between the travel around the world required for our business.


If you have a bucket list and you’re a gardener, then it’s time to make sure that visiting this show is included as one of the key items. This time of year also has Melbourne hosting the month long Comedy Festival (of the same ilk as Edinburgh and Toronto), a food and wine festival and multiple other cultural activities, such as the launch of our Australian Football season, making it an incredible time to be visiting Melbourne.

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