Talent in full bloom30 April 2017
The biggest event of its kind in Victoria, the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show took place last month in the Carlton Gardens with a five-day display of gardens, floral arrangements, plant sales, gardening talks and demonstrations.
The show also included an awards component celebrating some of Australia’s best landscapers and gardeners, recognised for their outstanding talent in the field.
Taking out second place in the Boutique Garden Competition was Joel Barnett. The 34-year-old from InStyle Gardens in Geelong themed this year’s entry around his love of tropical foliage and a desire to create a holiday-type environment at home. He’s coined his submission ‘Lush’.
“I love plants with interesting foliage all year round,” Joel explained. “There is still a big push towards low-maintenance gardens and foliage plants are low-maintenance, much more so than lawns.”
Competitors in this category had just nine days to construct their show landscapes in a 5m x 5m zone. As the Carlton Gardens is a World Heritage Site, nothing was allowed to penetrate the ground, and there were several tree protection zones to work around. In addition to these restrictions, Joel said scale is the biggest challenge, as he ran into trouble last year with structures that were too large for the site.
“Another lesson was just being more organised and having as much as possible built beforehand,” he said.
His award-winning design incorporated a plunge pool, deck and pergola, and featured vertical gardens and green walls. A dynamic space, Joel’s design made use of integrated lighting to add drama for the Gardens by Twilight evening session held on Friday, March 31.
“Using lights is an underrated part of garden design,” he said. “You can play with shadows and it looks completely different to during the day.”
Also featured in Joel’s garden was the Skydrop controller, keeping the vertical plants irrigated with WiFi connectivity for truly smart watering.
“There is not a better looking controller on the market than these!” Joel said.
The controller was supplied by Reece Irrigation in Bell Park and helped keep Joel’s garden looking fresh for the duration of the event.
See the other winners in their respective categories at melbflowershow.com.au.