Category Archive: Events

A Garden Club in May

By James Wall.

Last night I was privileged to visit the Springvale Garden Club’s monthly meeting.  If you don’t think much is going on in the garden in May, then have a look at the plethora of entries that the judge had to sift through last night.

Not only was the number of categories impressive, but the little signs were also very cool.

These photos were taken during judging, so not all the first prizes had been awarded. You be the judge yourself, and decide what you like:

flower of the monthThe flower of the month was of course yellow. The vireya rhododendron on the left therefore could not qualify as it contained some orange.

fruitThose japanese mandarins were massive and the raspberries tasted sweet as (I was fortunate to get a couple later on).

Chives, parsley and garlic chives made up the herb section.

floristryThere was some amazing floristry done, including the all natural boat below that was made in the end of a palm frond.

boatThese specimens were looking pretty good !

The pot plants of cacti and succulents were interesting as were the pot plants of foliage below.

The flowering shrubs and berries were colourful, and the superb grevillea ‘Apricot Glow’ on the right took out first prize.

A close up of an interesting zygopetalum orchid.

The competion in the cut flowers category was tight, but the freshly flowered bromeliad took out he award. See the close up below.

We finish with the table that created a lot of interest and it was of course called ‘Something Of Interest’. What you do is bring along something that you know what it is, and you educate other people. What a great idea. Thanks for all these photos goes out to the members of the Springvale Garden Club, May meeting 2016.

Gloriosa Lily Seed Pod

Hippeastrum seed pod - red


Scarlet runner bean seeds


Gumnut in stages.

Best second year apprentice award goes to Heidi Brooks

Recently,  Swinburne University of Technology held their Apprenticeship Awards Ceremony.

Our own Heidi Brooks was nominated for Best 2nd Year Apprentice of the Year 2015 Nursery Award.

……..And we are pleased to announce she won !

Heidi has shown consistent aptitude and a willingness to learn. She has had big shoes to fill with 2 previous award winning former apprentices working at Gardenworld.

Heidi is a well respected team member and and has incredible plant knowledge for someone her age. Next time you are in the nursery, you can be confident of getting the right information and advice courtesy of our highly trained horticulturalists, including our recent award winner Heidi Brooks. Congratulations !

Proprietor James Wall, Heidi Brooks and General Manager Jason Hilborn at the awards night.

Proprietor James Wall, Heidi Brooks and General Manager Jason Hilborn at the awards night.

Paul Bangay’s Stonefields

By Tim White.

Having booked tickets to see Paul Bangay’s “Stonefields” garden in support of Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Foundation (a not-for-profit charity that delivers food education to Australian children) a couple of months ago, we were looking forward to seeing this magnificent garden and hoping the weather would be kind to us. Fortunately we encountered a perfect day that was neither too hot nor raining and were able to enjoy the garden which is not usually open during Autumn. This meant we were able to see the beautiful trees transforming through their magnificent Autumn colours before they headed to their winter dormancy.

The land for Stonefields was purchased in 2003 and the villa and gardens completed in 2006. The design of the villa ensures that there are plenty of views of the exquisite gardens and beautiful Macedon Ranges through the use of terracing of the sloping property. The garden is surrounded by magnificent Manna Gums (Eucalyptus viminalis) up to 400 years old and blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) providing a wonderful backdrop to the enclosed garden once you are inside it.

The garden is divided into different rooms, each with its own theme but linked to the others with repeated shapes or plants. Hedges of Ligustrum vulgare (common privet), Crataegus (hawthorn), Prunus lusitanica (Portuguese laurel) and x Cupressocyparis leylandii (Leyland cypress) form the green walls of the rooms and these are meticulously trimmed by a full time gardener.

Walking through the entrance to the garden you first encounter a secluded courtyard the centrepiece of which is a square pond with a clipped box hedge in the middle. From there your eye is drawn to a perfectly circular hole in the hedge on the opposite wall that gives you glimpses of the villa enticing you to see what lies beyond.

The Blue Borders garden is just that – a beautifully laid out garden with blue flowered perennials framed with box hedge. Through the centre of the paving that steps down through terraces runs a simple stream that is interrupted by several snake sculptures spitting water, created by Melbourne based artist Ivana Perkins. This guides your eye to the front door of the villa which has snake door handles to complete the theme.

The tulip parterres garden is amazing with the precision and intricacy of the box hedging. This along with the rest of the garden changes with the seasons and would take on a completely different appearance at different times of the year – the tulips planted in this garden are dormant at the moment. Stonefields is a garden you could visit often and be surprised at the seasonal transformations and its changing appearance.

Other garden “rooms” at Stonefields include the Apple Walk, Rose Garden, Herb Garden, Veggie Garden and Pool Garden. If you get the chance and it opens again next time, I would highly recommend a trip out to Stonefields which is in Denver, about 80mins from Melbourne not far from Kyneton.

The coolest cubby house in the street.

By James Wall.

What do you get when some of Australia’s finest architects and construction companies get together and build cubby houses. You get the coolest cubby houses in the street. If you’re obsessed with keeping up with the Jones’, you can out-do them buy getting one of these. But history says they won’t come cheap.

At the 2016 Melbourne Flower Show, this years entries in ‘The Cubby House Challenge’ are looking uber cool – but the truth will be determined by the kids. That’s right, a batch of children will be dispatched into the cubby house kingdom and it is they which will determine which is the coolest.

This is all part of a fund raising for the charity Kids Under Cover – a not‑for‑profit organisation dedicated to preventing youth homelessness. A fitting charity for a cubby house competition.

If your family wants one, get all your gold coins together and be there for the auction this Sunday. History shows however that some of these cubby houses will sell for many thousands of dollars, so be prepared to pay a premium price, but of course you will be getting the coolest cubby house in the street, that’s for sure.

For more information go to

Funhouse by Fairhaven Homes

The Relic by Porter Davis Homes

Duplay by Archsign, CasConstruct and Gratton Design

Cubey House by Arkhefield and Grocon

Pl-yground by Matt Gibson Architecture + Design Ltd and Hartman Construction and Design

Garden Clubs alive and well.

By James Wall.

Garden Clubs seem to be having a resurgence. Last week I spoke at the Frankston Garden Club and there was a good turnout of at least 40 odd members. A couple of days later I was at the Mill Park Garden Club and there were even more people. It was a long time since I had spoken there  – a quick check of the visitors book showed I was the fifth ever speaker at the club back in 1995 ! A bit scary hey. It was a hive of activity with books, display table, raffles and of course excellent treats to go with a cuppa at the end.

Today I also visited the Melbourne Begonia Society Show at Moorabbin. By 10 am there were 150 people jostling to buy the beautiful specimens on sale. I was amazed at some of the leaf patterns and the sheer variety of plants on display.

After the begonia show it was off to Mount Waverly to visit the State Dahlia Show. This was a little less raucous than the begonia show which befitted the stately elegance of these pompous florals. It was also well attended and just goes to show that plant societies and garden clubs are alive and well. Why don’t you consider joining one near you?

Begonia gehrtii from Brazil

packed at the Begonia Show

Tuberous begonias on sale.

My favourite begonia.

Dahlias in red shades.

Chris Henbery a finalist for Apprentice Of The Year

Gardenworld is proud to announce that our very own apprentice Chris Henbery has made the final of The Victorian Apprentice Of The Year award. Chris has already won awards in the faculty of horticulture, but now he is up against the best of the rest.

Chris has a real passion for plants and will go out of his away to explain the key points about a particular variety. He has knowledge of a huge range of plants and now sources many of the plants for our nursery Not bad after 3 years ! We wish Chris the best and hope he is around for a few more seasons yet. You can vote for Chris in the Community Choice award here. We find out how he goes on August 28th.

The main award is given to recognise the hard work and achievements made within the vocational education and training sector. It is there to recognise outstanding achievements and contributions made through studying and in the workplace. It is open to all industries state wide, such as plumbing, electrical, carpentry, engineering, horticulture etc. All applications are assessed by a judging panel of industry experts in the first round and are scored and ranked against award criteria. The top scoring applications from all industries are selected and then assessed by a second judging panel. The top four applicants in the state are selected and are finalists for the award and attend finalist interview, which Chris was selected for. He attended a panel interview with 4 industry experts, and the winner is selected on this final part of the process. The winner is announced on 28th August at the Awards Ceremony.

The winner receives a $10,000 study fellowship and competes in the Australian Apprentice of the Year category at the Australian Training Awards in Hobart in November. As a winner, you represent the vocational training sector as an ambassador along side the Victorian Government.

 A message from Chris:

This is a career that I am extremely passionate about and love. I started a mature age apprenticeship in 2012 and have enjoyed the challenge of a new career and balancing work and study. I feel that I have been given a fantastic balance in an apprenticeship of work and school life, and the whole program has been supportive and has given me a great base for my future career. Other work and study achievements that contributed to becoming a finalist are; Bronze Medal in my student garden at MIFGS 2013, NGIV Apprentice of The Year 2013, Swinburne Outstanding Nursery Apprentice 2012, NGIV Scholarship 2012, Knox Rotary Award Finalist 2015, Swinburne Student Achiement Award 2014.

I feel privileged and honoured to be a finalist in the Victorian Apprentice of the Year, and would be proud to represent a fantastic industry in Horticulture (Nursery), one that provides great careers, but also provides something great for our customers too in products, service and the joy of growing plants.

More information:

Message from the Premier Daniel Andrews

Article about Chris from the Herald Sun website

Australian designer awarded medal at Chelsea.

For those without pay television, you may never have heard of Charlie Albone. He is a Sydney based Landscape Designer who is also one of the hosts of a TV show called Selling Houses Australia. Basically they do up a house, and his job is to fix up the garden – on a budget.

This time in real life however, this garden was on a different kind of budget! Charlie went to the 2015 Chelsea Flower Show and created a stunning little garden called, ‘The Time In Between’. His design as a space to tell his late father about his life since his passing. It is a space to reflect, contemplate, celebrate and enjoy life. His father died when he was 17.

The garden was awarded a Silver Gilt medal which is just one down from a gold. As you can see by these photos from the Royal Horticultural Society, the standard of workmanship and quality of plants in this garden were absolutely top quality and reinforces the exceptional standards that Australians set when they enter The Chelsea Flower Show.

The first section of the garden celebrates life with beautiful and romantic planting; the water feature in the next section reflects the emotions felt at the loss of someone close, as it can empty in a matter of seconds; and the rear of the garden is an intimate space to sit, connect and communicate with loved ones. The flowers include white aquilegia, purple iris and purple balls of allium or a flowering type of onion which look magnificent.

Although Charlie is an aussie now (we’ll claim him after this for sure) he actually was born in Hong Kong, Charlie and then moved to the UK when he was 12 years old. It was here that he developed a keen interest in landscapes and gardens. On leaving school, he landed a job maintaining the grounds of an English country manor. With no formal qualifications, he learnt on the job and worked for many UK landscaping companies before coming to Australia on a working holiday 12 years ago. He fell in love with the country and decided to further his education by gaining a Diploma In Horticulture And Landscape Design.

Congratulations Charlie. See his garden at the Chelsea website, or his own website Charlie at Chelsea.

photo copyright by kuva


By James Wall.

It was with admiration for the level of participation in the creation of  what was standing before me. There were five days until the Garden Show started and lots of people were involved in getting it ready. These included the lads from Avoca Landscape Construction who were halfway through the mock bridge (I say mock bridge because there was to be no water under it, but Dichondra repens planted to look like water). A Semken staffer was pushing a wheelbarrow almost ‘walking the plank’ to get from one high point to another, and there were plants ready to be positioned in the space beside us. Carolyn Blackman from Vivid Design was forging on and all was good because apparently we were ahead of schedule; but who really knew what lay ahead…..These are the thoughts that go through your mind when building a show garden. By the time it is built, you clearly see all of its imperfections. You are intimate with it, and sometimes it can be your little place in heaven, but other times your nightmare. Everything you ever planned leading up to this project, is now being tested to the hilt. There are still a few magic tricks up your sleeve, but there is also reality.

……and the reality is, that some of the general public may say “it does nothing for me” whereas others and hopefully the majority say, “it’s beautiful, job well done”. None of them see it like you do, missing at least some of the imperfections that you deep down in your heart know are there, and must admit that are there cause if you don’t, a smart judge will tell you why you lost marks…..

It’s the first day of a 5 day show and already you have had to do some maintenance, just when your media commitments are kicking in. Mmmm great timing, but alas, there is one other thing you know for sure, and that is by 5pm Sunday, your show garden will no longer exist. Hope you got some good photos, cause it will be over.So I guess however it turns out, you are best to enjoy your little garden. Its a very small window of time, so let your garden be what it was, a manicured fantasy, a miniscule piece of paradise, a love of plants, a good design. Be at peace with your garden, cause now it is gone

Student gardens at the 2015 Melbourne Flower Show

By James Wall.

Avenue Of Achievable Gardens.

You can always find a little bit of inspiration in the student gardens and this year the standard was set very high. Never have I seen so much creation, new school thinking and good use of plants. One day some of these horticultural and design students will be the industry trend setters. One of them may be a true gem.

After talking to a couple of the students I realised that they are just as motivated and excited about the industry as I hope I was at that age.

Here are some of the best of the 2015 Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show student gardens. Thanks go to the major sponsor Debco.

Grounding - Benjamin Taylor - University Of Melbourne

Rousseau's Jungle - Heather Forward University Of Melbourne

Urban Oasis - Veronica Bosque, Clare Mesenberg, Jo Zorzi - Holmesglen Institute

Nicola Muston - Holmesglen Institiute

The Pollinator Partner - Rebecca Bennett - Swinburne Universty Of Technology

Green Haven - Andrew Genovese - Melbourne Polytechnic

The Crossroads - Ben Newell - Swinburne University of Technology

The Wilde Side - Sonja Van Nieuwenhoven, Elise Northover, Katya Hamniuk, Ellen Davies

Hanging baskets at the 2015 Melbourne Flower Show

Once again the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) held their hanging basket competition at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden show. This event is not really about winning, it’s more about participation and creativity. Gardeners start with a basket which they pick up at their local nursery. Gardenworld alone had some 30 entrants. They each have about 3 months to turn theirs into their own backyard masterpiece. Getting it right for the event is all part of the challenge.

The RHS members are all volunteers and without them, this event would simply not exist. Thankyou wonderful people, for all that you do, especially all that work in netting the plants each night to keep the possums at bay !

Here are some of our favourites, in no particular order:

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