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Garden festival planner: Melbourne

MIFGS blooms in Melbourne in March.

Here’s how to turn a day at the show into a real garden festival.


So many great gardens at MIFGS. Photo - Robin Powell


Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show

Wednesday March 29- Sunday April 2

Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens


Nicknamed MIFGS (because Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show is such a mouthful!) this is Australia’s biggest garden show. Now celebrating its 22nd year, it regularly draws more than 100,000 garden lovers to see inspiring designer landscapes and catch up with what’s new in plants and horticulture, sculpture and garden life.

“What sets MIFGS apart is its unbeatable location,” says Sandra Ross, a MIFGS regular for years. “All views are backdropped by Carlton Gardens and the gorgeous Exhibition Building with its Victorian fountain burbling away. The Exhibition Building houses the floral displays and from the second floor balconies you can look down on the floral extravaganza on your way to a refreshing cuppa.”


This MIFGS 2016 garden by Ian Barker landscapes. Photo - Sally Plotell


Where to stay:

For good value views try the serviced apartments at Mantra on the Park which offer views from private balconies over Carlton Gardens.


Our choice is

The Marriott on Exhibition Street, which is within walking distance of the show, and of Melbourne’s best food and drink offerings.


Come with us

Our three-night tour spends a day at MIFGS and adds some private gardens in the Yarra Valley to the festival experience. See or call Royce or Ros on 1300 233 200.


Gardens to visit


Heide is the former home of art patrons John and Sunday Reed, and the place in which Sidney Nolan, Sunday’s lover, painted his famous Ned Kelly series. Sunday was a keen gardener and her walled garden and kitchen are beautifully maintained. There are also 15 acres of wild gardens to explore, featuring more than 300 pieces of contemporary sculpture. The buildings at Heide house a Museum of Modern Art and celerity chef Shannon Bennett manages the café. Pre-order a picnic or buy a lunchbox from the cafe and enjoy a day exploring and relaxing in the gardens. Heide is about 25 minutes drive from the CBD.


7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen


Veggie patch at 'Heide'. Photo - Robin Powell



Cranbourne is the native outpost of the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria and its showpiece is the incredible Australia Garden, which has won international awards for its designers Taylor Cullity Lethlean. You’ll also find lots of information and inspiration about growing native plants in the gardens here, with show beds of garden cultivars and examples of different growing techniques, from espaliered eucalypts to cloud-pruned grevilleas. Cranbourne is a 50-minute drive from Melbourne.

Cnr Ballarto Road and Botanic Drive, Cranbourne


Cranbourne. Photo - Robin Powell



Ripponlea is a National Trust managed property in Elsternwick, about 7km from Melbourne’s CBD. The gardens of the original Sargood estate were designed in the picturesque style and include a large lake, rose and flower gardens, an orchard of heritage varieties, and fabulous fernery. A flashy later addition is the swimming pool, designed in 1930s Hollywood style. Get here from the city by bus, tram, train or taxi.


Ripponlea. Photo - Jess Hood


About this article

Author: Robin Powell