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Hot Off the Press - Drum Roll Please

Every year the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show mesmerises us mere mortals, who are content with creating a garden over a lifetime, not a fortnight.

Flashy, top level gardens, more at home in Vouge Living line the Show Garden Parade. Beautifully crafted pergolas with matching inky reflection ponds entice us to think differently about outdoor space in Australia and although most of us can only dream, it’s great to get caught up in the annual wave of excitement.

Today we showcase just one garden - the Gold Medal Garden and Best in Show, with the hope you may discover all angles of this lovely show garden.

The minute I walked onto Carolyn and Joby Blackman's, 'The Greenery Garden' to film for Better Homes and Gardens Australia TV special, I felt it was a Best in Show. It wasn’t even finished but I still 'smelt' success.

The design team were already exhausted but hugely grateful to their staff and support crew from Semken Landscape team, having experienced a one year journey to get to this point.


Carolyn and Joby Blackman with Graham Ross at the 2016 Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show.

The team had already achieved gold for a memorable Conservatory garden, 'The Gardeners Library' in 2014.

The ‘Greenery Garden' was an improvement still, the plant quality and selection, design philosophy and construction techniques heightened, sophisticated and honed. Having seen more than 100 Chelsea show gardens in London since 1984, it’s 'Chelsea gold’ plain and simple.


'The Greenery', multi-award winning garden.


At the awards breakfast on Wednesday morning it was Gold, Gold, Gold and then the supreme award Best in Show was bestowed upon the crew. Carolyn, Joby and their Vivid Design team had scooped the pool: Gold Medal, HMA Plant Life Gold Award, Gold Medal for the Mark Bence Construction Gold medal and then the City of Melbourne Award of Excellence. In between the cheers and tears a surprise announcement was made! A Chinese horticultural company, Orisis, presented them with tickets to Shanghai, smiles all round.

The design is intriguing, formal and compartmentalised – divided into three areas: the dining room, the reflective pool and the entrance gardens. But smaller nooks lure and entice, entreating further discovery. Dancing rabbits beckon. This is a playful garden.


Dancing rabbits beckon

The boundary of the garden is made with green walls of tall, formal hedges of native Waterhousia, exotic new 'Miles Choice' Bay and pleached Portuguese Laurel which dramatically cut vistas and ensure complete privacy from neighbouring gardens. Pergolas and frameworks with work like picture frames, framing up the views. Elegant spires of Magnolia grandiflora and the new Bay Tree punctuate space.

Frothy Hydrangea paniculata 'Sundae Fraise' was truly glorious on full blooms. This autumn flowering hydrangea loves the shade. They look particularly beautiful against the deep green cloak of hedges.


Hydrangea paniculata 'Sundae Fraise'

My favourite plants were the brightly flame coloured Heuchera cultivars, Euphorbia 'Silver Swan' and where would we be without the white buttercups of autumn’s windflowers (Anenome x hybrida)? One of the stars of the autumn garden, originating in China and can wander mischievously through the dappled parts of your garden unaided.


Euphorbia 'Silver Swan'


Brightly flame coloured Heuchera cultivars

Textural accents of Mexican lily (Beschorneria yuccoides) a and Iris pallida give movement; while balls of Indian Hawthorn gives depth.

Well done Carolyn and Joby – for providing us with another thoughtful garden, enjoy China. And well done to Semken Landscaping for handcrafting another masterpiece.