Category Archive: Events

Australian Garden Show – Sydney 2014

It’s been a busy month or so leading up to the Australian Garden Show Sydney (AGSS), with 3 designers located in the Landscape Design Studio at Gardenworld making the journey to Sydney to complete 3 individual gardens for the Australian Garden Show Sydney.

Brent Reid and Kim Earl from Candeo Design and Phillip Withers of Phillip Withers Landscape Design are now back in the studio creating gardens all whilst coming down from the excitement of winning 2 Bronze Medals, a Gold Medal and ‘Best Balcony Garden’ at the show.

Phillip Withers put together an absolute gem called ‘My Island Home’, featuring a timber beach hut and a waved and curving bridge surrounded by tall palms and colourful succulents which mimicked the Great Barrier Reef. You could have imagined being on a beach anywhere in the world as the garden transported you to a place of relaxation.

Brent Reid created a hiding spot with ‘Cache’, a stunning garden in which you could retreat from the world and slow down the pace of life. A giant Bronze snail called Joseph hid in the textural planting and added character to the garden while a steel arched arbour created a sense of intimacy. It really was an escape from the world with a bit of fun giving it a light hearted and joyous feeling.

Kim Earl’s balcony garden was aimed to entice people living in high population residential areas to look at their outdoor space in a new light. Planting on differing levels showed how you could create a garden on a balcony and cantilevered bar turned the space into a usable area. Reinvesting in green spaces within the cities was paramount, and what’s an outdoor area if not complete by being able to enjoy it.

Unfortunately the weather wasn’t ideal however the growth from last year’s show (the augural year) to this year was amazing. AGSS had more gardens and stall holders than the previous year and the infrastructures put into place to assist people getting to the show were unfaultable.

Watch out for next year’s show, if this year was anything to go by it’s going to be a cracker!

Gardening with soul – the movie

Love, faith…and compost.

This movie started today at the Classic Cinemas in Elsternwick. It is sure to be a gardeners favourite and an inspiration to anyone under the age of 90. If Sister Loyola can do all this in chilly New Zealand, there is no excuse for us younger Melbourne winter gardeners.

This lively, beautifully shot documentary is filmed almost entirely in the small community of Island Bay on the southern coast of Wellington and follows a year in the garden with 90 year old Sister Loyola Galvin, the main gardener at Home of Compassion. Sister Loyola’s optimism is infectious and it’s fed every day by her love of gardening. Themes of faith, aging and compassion sit alongside the practicalities of community life, issues within the Catholic Church and the importance of good compost in this intimate, funny and moving portrait of a woman approaching the end of her life.  

The following was written about this movie by Jo Randerson (NZ International Film Festival):

As the main gardener at the Home of Compassion in Island Bay, Wellington, her daily tasks include heavy lifting alongside vigorous spade and wheelbarrow work, which she sometimes performs on crutches. Loyola and the other Sisters of Compassion follow the vision of Mother Aubert to ‘meet the needs of the oppressed and powerless in their communities’. 

Filmmaker Jess Feast (Cowboys and Communists) has been following Sister Loyola over the last year, charting her journey through the seasons which included her 90th birthday. Through her garden, we begin to understand Loyola’s commitment to nurture all living things, especially those which ‘don’t get a good start’. From her early work as a nurse with sick or stillborn babies, to her role as a nun raising children with disabilities, we see Loyola’s incredible energy and faith in her God to carry her through the difficult times.

The lively, beautifully shot documentary (edited by Annie Collins) is filmed almost entirely in this small community on the southern coast of Wellington. With music by local musician David Long, and full of the sea- and garden-scapes that have informed Loyola’s life, Gardening with Soul uncovers a local legend and her community for the wider world. It is a conceptual triumph for Feast. Any belief we might harbour that becoming a nun is avoiding the real world is turned firmly on its head as we witness this extraordinary soul steer a sharp course through all weathers, trying to shine love on everything she sees.

Ticket prices: Adults $19, Child $13.50, Concession $14, Senior $11

More information: Classic Cinemas

Winners Of our Gardening With Soul competiton:


My favourite plant has to be the Venus Fly Trap. I was first given
one as a child and it was the perfect plant/pet combination. My
brother and I used to search the window sills to find dead flies to
feed it. They also remind me of one of my favourite movies : “Little
Shop Of Horrors” – while the plant was still cute of course.


My favourite plant is the jonquil.  In the depths of a dark and depressing Winter, up pops their vibrant flowers with the most intoxicating scent.  It is a lovely reminder that Spring is on the way.


my favourite plant is a Lemon Scented Gum. I grow it in a container in front of the entrance door to my house. Every time I go in or out I rub one of the leaves between my fingers and get invigorated by the fresh, strong aromatic smell. I use the leaves for tea or put it in the bath water. It also looks quite pretty: its new leaves are shiny and reddish, and the stems have little hairs that make it look red. Last but not least, the lemon scented gum is easy to care for – it has few pests, doesn’t mind being cut back, and keeps growing happily as long as it gets well watered in summer!

Gardenworld goes yarn bombing

The call came out from Eastland Shopping Centre in Ringwood. Find us some trees to yarn bomb. If you don’t know what yarn bombing is, its when some fanatical knitters, crocheters, stitchers and quilters get together and cover everyday objects with yarn.

It was not easy to find a tree with a reasonably thick trunk, yet still able to be wheeled through a door way. We managed to find four lovely Ficus macrophylla from one of our growers. Of course you would know these trees as Moreton Bay Figs. That’s right, those massive trees you see in parks that are decades old. In fact I remember my last trip to Sydney when I saw the giant fig at Government House. It’s around 169 years old !

Moreton Bay Fig

Moreton Bay Fig planted circa 1845

But back to the yarn bombing. The Eastland Park is a combined project, by local knitters from Domain Gracedale, Waldtreas Village Aged Care Facility, Wyreena Arts Centre, BUPA Aged Care Croydon and The Yarn Corner.

It is on at Eastland Shopping Centre from now until the 15th June. There is a list of activities for adults and kids on their website here.

Now you might think Ringwood is a long way from Gardenworld, but not any more. Driving the Eastlink Freeway, I get from Gardenworld to Eastland in about 20 minutes. The traffic is usually free flowing. For anyone in Ringwood’s surrounds you can get to Gardenworld in the same time, but you’ll have a different type of yarn when you get there. We’d love to see you !

If anyone wants to buy one of these magnificent 5 year old Moreton Bay Figs, they are available for $495 including Melbourne Metro delivery, but only while the 4 trees last, and only if you have a very big backyard.



Silver Medal at Australian Garden Show

Phillip Withers and Semken Landscaping are both part of the Gardenworld team. Phillip designs beautiful gardens and Semken builds them.

Last weekend they were in Sydney for the first ever Australian Garden Show, and their garden was awarded a Silver medal.

Here is Phillip’s account of the first ever Australian Garden Show held in Sydney last weekend:

So I’m back on solid ground after being up in Sydney for a couple of weeks taking part in the Australian Garden Show and all I can say is what an experience it became! And what a great effort the show put together in such a short period of time to get it to where it did.

My feeling was that both the inspirational and urban gardens were of a great standard and set a great bench mark for the standard of gardens for years to come. Gardens such as Brendan Moar’s ‘Suspended’ which became best in show and September sky by Andrew Fisher Tomlin and Tom Harfleet were truly imaginative and inspirational and I could here first hand from the public that they were blown away by there interest.

I was lucky enough to also take part in putting an inspirational garden together entitled Viridus ‘Green and Blooming’ which was quite the challenge in the 6 week period leading in. Though lucky enough I had the support of a great group of individuals led by Outdeco and Limestone Australia whom presented the garden and Semken Landscaping whom built the garden – we pulled it off to create something really special. The feeling from our cabin was met with an overwhelming amount of support both for the garden at day and at night and we were very pleased to be awarded with a silver medal and a groundswell of support in the ability of translating the garden into a Sydney courtyard atmosphere, which is definitely something I was a little apprehensive about being from Melbourne.

Its really nice to be able to go from my everyday of designing gardens in Melbourne to adapt and recognise plants suited to a slightly more warmer climate. There’s so many plants in our kingdom and so many that will work in separate conditions, so for me I love to be able to step into different shoes to work with some different shapes and hints of a more daring tropical notion.

One of the real keys I felt the show provided and can build upon was being open into the evening, it was a special feeling each night at dusk to watch the park slowly bridge into a whole different experience. The lights dimmed, the mood set and the gardens were brought into change, into excitement. See I feel having gardens open at night can do more then one recognises as it creates a whole different experience for the viewer, here we get a chance to create moods within a space and it lets gardens become atmospheric and challenging.

I really believe in this process and I feel it builds an even greater audience to our sport of gardens. So not just plant enthusiasts and garden lovers can appreciate a show experience but so the wider public engage as I feel they started to at the show. They could sit back and enjoy there drink of choice at the Harvest bar and have a chat to people involved and watch over the show in all its glory.

See Its funny when you become involved in a garden show in its first year, many wonder how it will go, there’s questions marks everywhere other than from the people that truly believe in it and put everything into it to make it work. So I can’t thank all of these people enough for the opportunity in creating an event that I feel has a great future and will only get better over the next couple of years. So I sit here leaning back in my chair and step back into reality and I can say that I’m so glad I was involved and saw the success of the first ‘Australian Garden Show’ this year.

Phillip Withers Landscape Design.

Orchids in full bloom.

By James Wall, Nurseryman.

Yesterday I attended the ‘Melbourne Orchid Spectacular’ at Springers Leisure Centre in Keysborough. The quality and variety of blooms this year were of a very high standard. Experts, enthusiasts and novices all seemed to mingle together well. Many people had come from many miles, allured by the beauty of these mystical flowers. I have taken some photos for all those who missed out.

Collector’s Corner here at Gardenworld also have a magnificent array of flowering orchids on display right now and for the next couple of months. Conveniently located right next to the cafe !

Oncidium maculatum

Peter Nelson "Starbright" x Adelaide "Mint"

A stunning mottled pink

One of my favourites

New Century "Spica"

Masdevallia orchids

Beaconfire "Cecile Park"

Outstanding Apprentice of The Year.

Congratulations goes out to our second year apprentice Chris Henbery who has been awarded ‘Outstanding Apprentice of of the Year’

Last Tuesday Swinburne University Of Technology held an awards evening to recognise the work and contributions of apprentices within the technology and trades industry. The awards were presented to individuals that showed dedication and contribution to education through apprenticeships as well as skills learned and used to a high standard in both work and study.

Our 2nd year apprentice, Chris Henbery, won an award for ‘Outstanding Apprentice of of the Year’ in the Nursery category for horticulture. Chris has been with us at Gardenworld  for almost a year and a half, while studying his apprenticeship at Swinburne throughout this time. We are sure that if you have been served by Chris, you will see that he has learnt a great deal of plant knowledge in a very short space of time.

A number of apprentices from industry sectors including electricians, plumbing and landscaping were recognised. The awards also included a speech from guest speaker Sam Rowe, who plays in the AFL for Carlton and played his first game in the second round this year. He spoke to the guests about his carpentry apprenticeship that he has just completed, a job he hopes to resume when he finishes his AFL career.

The evening was a great success, recognising almost 30 up and coming apprentices across all industries and highlighting the potential we have for great emerging talent in the future. Well done Chris – enjoy your garden !

Chris was part of the now famous bottle garden at the Melbourne Flower Show

Monet’s Garden at The National Gallery of Victoria

By James Wall, Nurseryman.

Venue: National Gallery of Victoria.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the Monet’s Garden exhibition, devoted to Claude Monet’s iconic garden at Giverny, France.

Upon entering the first room, For some reason I suddenly felt overcome with tingles and shivers down the back of my spine. I am not an art buff, but  could sense this was something special. One of the very first paintings I looked at was of creamy white clematis with a smudges of green. The colours seemed to melt together. I knew then that I was in for a treat.

Other wonderful paintings of plants included ‘orangey red’ day lilies and yellow iris. These were both planted near the edge of his pond. Of course in the pond were the famed water lilies that he painted again and again, even destroying some paintings he felt were over-worked. The pond was something he created when he moved into his home in Giverny, a place about 80km from Paris. There he created a wonderful garden and took an avid interest in flowers and also a large vegetable garden. There was something to paint for all seasons.

Monet loved and grew many different types of water lilies. Some of them, like the tropicals,  he even removed and put in a special greenhouse over winter to protect them. The most common water lily in France was the simple white form. Monet saw the new coloured hybids shown by the Bordeaux botanist Joseph Bory Latour-Marliac, and in 1894 ordered three varieties from him. Monet experimented with growing tropical and cold climate varieties. He had particular success raising blue cultivars from South America and white Egyptian types with external pink petals and and yellow lilies that blushed to red as they aged.

Water lilies with leaves of the willow tree dangling down.

Claude Monet: “Now I really feel the landscape. It’s enchanting, its delicious”

As Monet’s sight failed, you could see some of frustration on canvas, while painting roses bushes in his garden. I think he had an operation which improved his vision, and then you saw variations in colours from the same scenes he had earlier painted. There was also a scrumptious painting of the classic wysteria, framed narrow but wide. Some of his canvasses were enormous.

We returned to the exhibition after some lunch and again I felt some underlying exhilaration. I think to see such a master’s work and to know he loved meeting botanists and nurseryman really appealed to me. Oh and of course his paintings aren’t too bad either !

The exhibition is on until September 8th and the cost is $26 for adults and $10 children. This includes a short movie of Monet’s actual garden in Giverny. This is displayed on a curved screen.

According to our own water lily experts at Lotus Watergardens, winter is a time to clean up the water lilies, removing all dead foliage. These are often quite slimy and gooey. I am sure Claude would have used his row boat for this job. The lilies can also be fed with a fertiliser tablet in September, and if large enough, re-potted. For more information, get down to Lotus Watergardens here at Gardenworld and see them potting water lilies right now…..and for a little bit of winter colour, why not plant some Water Hawthorn. I am sure it would make Monet proud.

Water Hawthorn

Congratulations for Australians at Chelsea Flower Show

For a moment in time it was front page news on The Age website. Australia, and in particular Melbourne, had produced the best garden in the best garden show in the world.

Wes Fleming, brave nurseryman from family business Fleming’s Nurseries joined forces with sustainably esteemed landscape designer Phillip Johnson to produce a garden like one never before seen. The design included one of Phillips famous billabongs like the one he did at the Melbourne Flower Show a few years back. The imposing timber studio you can see in the picture, is built in the shape of a waratah flower, which apparently Phillip’s father Colin gave to his wife when he proposed.

Trailfinders Australian Garden, presented by Fleming's

Wes had been to Chelsea many times before and was almost ‘mates’ with the queen. In fact he got a letter of support from the royals the year he couldn’t make it because of the bushfires. He has won gold before, but was always striving for the elusive ‘best in show’. How fitting that they did it in the one hundredth anniversary. For Wes, it was meant to be.

For the garden, there was wildflowers, bottle trees, Scottish stone and of course a billabong that uses no chemicals but is clean enough to swim in and will naturally clean itself. Some of the stone had been in landslips and had been in depots for 18 years. From the pictures we have seen, this is a garden that Australia can be truly proud of.

DON’T FORGET !!! –  From the 8th of June, Gardenworld will have one of Australia’s biggest ranges of Fleming’s bare root fruit and ornamental trees. This is the best time to buy a tree. There is a huge range of quality fruit trees.

It was a privilege for us that some months ago, Phillip Johnson’s dad Colin held a couple of his drawing classes here at Gardenworld. He was doing the watercolour drawings for the Chelsea garden, an extremely important part of the submission. His classical style and use of colours would have been loved by those English.

One of the first watercolour sketches done by Colin for Chelsea.

Here is a story of Colin’s visit to our nursery by our horticultural staff member Bonnie-Marie Hibbs:

Recently at GardenWorld Nursery we have been visited by some very talented artists from The Peninsula Art Society and The Mentone-Mordialloc (Advanced group) Art Society.

Teaching this energetic group is the very talented Colin Johnson, Art Historian, who is very well known for his illustrations and his input in the garden design concepts at the Chelsea Flower Garden Show. I had the honour to talk with Colin and lets just say I was excited although quite nervous.

 The Peninsula Arts Society was first established in 1954 and now consists of 700 members, while the Mentone and Mordialloc Art society has close to 300 members. There is a good variety of ages within both of the societies, the youngest member is aged 25 and the oldest 85 years old.

 It is great to see so many people passionate about all themes of art and to see the passion and amount of concentration involved.

 Both societies encourage fresh ideas and styles, whilst encouraging beginners and current artists to take part in their activities. The Peninsula Arts Society and the Mentone/Mordialloc Art society both offer illustration classes, workshops and educational field trips. Most classes are made up of 16 members/students.

 Today, the members were here at GardenWorld to obtain reference material for their Summer Garden illustrations.

The art that was produced at the end of the session was very impressive!

Its wonderful to see such passionate and energetic members who commit so much time and love into their illustrations.

“Wonderful classes at GardenWorld” – Colin Johnson.

If you are interested in joining the Art Societies here are the links: The Peninsula Art Society

 The Mentone-Mordialloc Art Society

Colin Johnson with Art Society member at Gardenworld.

Autumn Rose Spectacular in full bloom.

After two beautiful days of weekend weather, we are recovering from one of our biggest events of the year – our rose show.

The quality of blooms were top quality and thanks goes out to The Rose Society, Nieuwesteeg Roses,  Black Marvel Rose Food, Grow Better and  Neutrog for their support.

Special thanks to The Rose Society. Without their expert advice and home grown roses, we would not have a show.

Here are some pictures of the show. Enjoy the blooms!



Dame Elisabeth Murdoch


City Of Newcastle


Phillip Withers takes a bronze medal at the Melbourne flower show.

Our hearty congratulations go out to Phillip Withers, the 28 year old up and coming landscape designer who took a bronze medal in is first ever Melbourne Flower ‘Show Garden’ creation.

The garden, called Cube-ism was inspired by Phil’s travels to South America, where arid meets lush. There was also a bit of the ‘Rubik’s cube’ influence.

Considering Phillip was only asked to do the garden 11 weeks ago it is a wonderful achievement. Most of the plants were supplied by Gardenworld and Semken Landscaping did the flawless construction. Many other sponsors also donated products so as to make the garden what it was. The response from the public has been most positive and they love to hear about the South American connection to this garden.

Phillip is based in the design studio here at Gardenworld. You can even hire him for one of our $150 garden consultations where he will come out and spend an hour with you in your garden, giving you the advice and inspiration you might need, to add a another perspective to your garden.

Well done Phillip – maybe one day it’s off to Chelsea for you !

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