Sydney has tried to host garden shows over the years but somehow these have it has never succeeded. And so the inaugural Australian Garden Show Sydney is welcomed with open arms. This one, supported by the Foxtel Lifestyle Show, shows signs of succeeding with grace and I look forward visiting the second show next September
This is a traditional garden show, sporting numerous industry exhibitors many selling their wares, celebrated designers and industry specialists giving presentations on delectable topics and of course amazing show gardens designed and constructed by the best in the business.
One of the main exhibition gardens, September Sky, was not judged. I guess in deference to the visiting designers. I have to say it was beautiful.
It is an exhibition garden put together as a show piece by two well-known British garden designers, Andrew Fisher Tomlin and Tom Harfleet. It is a British view of how Australian plants could be used in a garden. I also have to say, beautiful though it is, this garden has strong elements of gardens designed by our own Australian designer, Phillip Johnson, winner of this year’s Chelsea garden show. Other Australian designers use our striking plants and landscape materials in the same way too, from the amazing Australian Garden in Cranbrook, Melbourne to some of the lovely Australian gardens I saw in the Garden Design Fest in Melbourne earlier this year.
Highlights though, show how gracefully Australian plants suit our climate. I love the stunning use of Gymea Lilies and Eucalypts in this rocky garden showing off the deep blue of an early morning, cloudless September sky. It’s spring here and these giant lilies grace our gardens, big and small.
Other features of this garden included gravel paths lined with spring flowering perennials
And dry creek beds, waiting for flooding rain to flow with water
I did like the casual pile of sticks which acted as a place to lounge around a firepit (A bushfire waiting to happen?) and the quirky cage which formed the gazebo.
Australian plants featured in many of the other exhibition gardens.
I have to say I loved Jim Forgarty’s The Last to Leave. This garden is a reminder of sacrifice and is not supposed to represent a recreational garden. Not recreational, this garden is a work of art. It was given gold. A shame that many viewers missed the point and grumbled about the rusted wire and dugout .
Wire rusting in amongst the flowers
Finally, among the gardens featuring Australian plants is a little gem by one of the younger designers. This garden was not awarded. It scored low and I’m sorry because I think this time it is the judges who missed the point.
I love the play on texture with these grasses. What a stunning way to deal with our difficult Australian soils and climate.
Another strong trend on show was the push to grow food in the garden.
Spearheaded by Indira Naidoo with her push for growing edible plants on balconies, this trend is seen not only in her amazing kitchen gardens but also in some of the other exhibition gardens.
I do love The Beehive by Katie Burgess. This charming little garden sports a mix of flowers and edibles. Come in bees and feast.
The main Kitchen Garden hosts not only raised vegetable beds full of herbs and salad
But also vertical gardens,
Aquaponics with small raised garden beds and fish tanks
And my favourite project, a children’s strawberry vertical garden
Empty milk bottles, some paint, potting mix, wire and strawberry plants can create fun which will last for a long time.