Category Archive: Gardens

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

Gardenworld at 2015 Melbourne Flower Show

By James Wall

We are proud to once again be involved in the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show which starts today and goes until Sunday.

Here are some of the things Gardenworld have been up to:

Candeo Design – The Bronzed Brolga

Brent Reid – Candeo Design. Brent runs his company out of the Design Studio here at Gardenworld. He has been commissioned by the Northern Territitory Government to build a site to promote Tourism NT. The garden is called ‘The Bronzed Brolga’ and includes an amazing pond and a beautiful stone wall. Construction is by Semken Landscaping and the plant list includes 5 Phoenix roebelenii palms borrowed from Gardenworld Nursery. These wonderous specimens are over 30 years old and were grown in Brisbane and shipped down to the nursery. Very rare plants indeed. Brent’s garden received a Bronze Medal.

Phillip Withers Landscape Design – ‘Food Forest’

Phillip Withers Landscape Design – ‘Food Forest’ – Phillip also runs his business out of the design studio at Gardenworld. This quirky design celebrates the fusion of food plants and style in a home garden. There is something here for everyone. There is a fully fruiting persimmon tree that many visitors to the show will never have seen growing before. Phillip’s garden received a Silver medal and also took out the Honda Sustainabilty award for the second year running. Special thanks must go to Semken Landscaping for construction and Outdeco garden screens which looked sensational painted in Phil’s latest colour palette. These screens are available to buy at Lotus Watergardens at Gardenworld. – ‘Resonate’

LocalNurseries – ‘Resonate’
Designed by Vivid Design and construction by Semken Landscaping
A retro styled garden with dramatic undulations. This garden was awarded a Gold Medal.

Gardenworld Nursery is proud to be a member of the Local Nurseries group. We are retail nurseries based in Melbourne and Geelong that work together in sourcing the best plants and aim to have the best garden centres we can. If you want your local nursery to be around in 20 years, don’t just go to the big chain stores – come and meet the horticultural experts who love their plants and care about your garden.

 Competition – Guess the weight of this pumpkin

Gardenworld is offering a $150 gift voucher for whoever guesses the correct weight of this giant Atlantic pumpkin. The pumpkin is on display at the Royal Horticultural Society and their Great Hanging Basket Competition. Just look for the hundreds of hanging baskets. We believe this pumpkin may weigh over 200 kg !

Thankyou to the efforts of hundrerds of people, including Gardenworld staff and suppliers, without which this show would not be possible.

A modern Highett garden.

By James Wall

Was lucky enough to visit two gardens in the 2014 Garden Design Fest and this garden in a Melbourne suburb called Highett was one of them.

It was designed by Stephen Read. I found it to be a very refreshing garden and it reinforced some old ideas and introduced some new.

The use of bollards might be an old idea, but it was executed with perfection. The curve of the structures and the simplicity of the planting of Bearberry Cotoneaster dammeri that surround the solitary Cypress, and common plant in this suburbia. The house seems protected yet at the same time open to the world around it.

But what really hits you in the face as you walk in is this stunning wall of Boston Ivy intertwined with Chinese Star Jasmine. In this spring November garden, it was peaking.

This Chinese Star Jasmine by itself looked pretty good too ! And further in behind the bollards was a nice sitting area surrounder by a ‘wonderful’ Pomegranate hedge with Feather reed grass. Hmmm what a good idea. I could imagine mum out here on the ipad, just getting away for a bit of wireless online shopping.

Another fence covered spectacularly but this time with Boston Ivy and Silver Vein Creeper, another one of the Parthenocissus species and another stunning blending of varieties.

Heading down the side of the house, note the red bricks drawing you along what is a very narrow path, but which allows for a nice wide vegetable garden, sensibly designed on the north side of the block. Incorporating terracotta pots into the actual garden, creates a really nice effect, especially with some blue lobelia added for colour.

At this point you reach the backyard. In between the paving is three poignant olive trees and pencil pines adorn the main bed. They are surround by Salvia and Rudbeckia. There appear to be more pomegranate along the back fence, but this is still a young planting and the garden hasn’t yet fully pronounced its full coming.

From there, the things that really impressed me were the differing levels of the ground and the way decking and garden had been incorporated. Nothing was too overdone, but there was just so much there to take in. I am sure the proud owners spend hours siting out there with a paper, occasionally peering up to watch it grow.

A fig tree which will one day shade the house and provide food for the family in just a month or so’s time. A great place to end this little tour. I hope you enjoyed this garden as much as i did. Its simplicity in the front, flowed through to a more complex back yard, that in about 5 years time would have me really curious in seeing. I left this garden content. I wanted to go around each next corner….yes it really dragged me in. It is a privilege for both the designer and owner to let us see it. Next time you hear about an open garden, why don’t you just drop by for a little bit of inspiration….and a little bit of joy. 

Stephen Read Landscape Design website.

Garden Design Fest website.

A coastal Mt Eliza garden.

By Milli Wall.

Yesterday I visited a beautiful open garden in Mount Eliza called Earimil Gardens, a privately owned and independently displayed coastal garden rambling over 3 hectares located on a steep cliff block. Many mature trees protect the gardens exposed position and provide shade in a mostly sun drenched space. Admire sweeping views of surrounding land from a jutting viewing platform – once a helicopter landing pad.

Elaine, the owner of the property at in Mount Eliza, invites the public into her gardens for a $10 entry fee going to charity (children free) When I arrive I find Elaine talking to a group of visitors. She is obviously enjoying the experience of sharing her wonderful gardens. I can see she and her helpers have taken care to put on a terrific day, the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, an acoustic guitarist plays to several groups enjoying picnic lunches on the lawns. Many inspired noises can be heard from people as they make notes to apply to their own gardens.

My kids enjoy finding all the Australian wildlife sculptures tucked away in the gardens but to me the flower beds are the highlight of this garden; providing the visitor with delightful layers of prolific colour. Thought has been put into the smallest details, from nasturtiums and erigeron encouraged to grow randomly through a fence to grand bay views framed through magnificent cascading rose and clematis vines in full bloom. Breath taking, a delightful chaotic wildness is tempered by someone’s loving attention to detail, not a weed or a dead flower to be found.

When Elaine decides to open her delightful garden again I highly recommend a visit.

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!

Just a nice little garden.

By James Wall

My sister and her family have just sold their house, and I have always liked what they have done with their front garden.

Of course they had a little bit of help with landscape design from Carolyn and Joby Blackman of Vivid Design, the people that also did the gold winning Gardener’s Library at this years Melbourne Flower Show.

What I like about this garden is that it takes the principle that many front gardens are not really a living space, but an expression of the people and the house that reside on that block of land. It is also a practical garden, in that there did need to be a function, and that was to get to the side gate. The expression of the stepping stones is similar to the plants – not rigid and formal in its straightness, but almost indiscriminate yet with some sort of order the way it is grouped.

 It is a fun and arty garden, but it is not over the top.

Since the design, the plant palette has of course evolved, as most good gardens do. The hero kangaroo paws were once something else. The clipped english box create the balls of green, and the silver of the wormwood creates structure and colour contrast. The dianaella is the grassy and hardy tufts of green, and the other grassy plant but with soft pink flowers are the also extremely hardy Tulbaghia. The hero for me though, is that creeping thyme. Its wonderful ground hugging effect draws the whole garden together, including the interesting textures of gravel, rock and stepping stone.

A simple but in some ways complicated garden…. I guess that sums up life.

Starting from a design basis from which to build upon has rewarded this garden. It shows the value of good design. 

Gardenworld introductory landscape design service.

Vivid Design website.

Chateau Villandry in the Loire Valley, France.

By Sue Webster – 
Here is a story about the Chateau Villandry in the Loire Valley, France.  We visited this garden in 2007 and were stunned with the beauty of these gardens.  If you only have time to visit a couple of chateaux when in France, this is a must.


The Chateau of Villandry is the last of the great chateaux in the Loire, built during the Renaissance in the Loire Valley. Located about three hours from Paris on the banks of the Loire River, the chateau is renowned for its elegant architecture, but it is especially well known for its gardens that spread across three terraces and combine aesthetics, diversity and harmony. (Photo 1)

The Chateau Villandry dates from 1536 when it was built by one of King Francois 1 finance ministers, Jean le Breton. It was confiscated during the French Revolution before eventually being acquired for Joseph Bonaparte in the early 1800s. A Dr Joachim Carvallo purchased the Chateau in 1906 and spent a great deal of time and money restoring the chateau and gardens back to Renaissance style, which is what you see today.

The castle’s gardens are the reconstruction of a 14th century French garden based on ancient texts. The gardens are divided into four terraces, consisting of six gardens. Linden trees, yews and hornbeams are used extensively to surround the different gardens.

The Renaissance kitchen garden is composed of nine equally sized squares but inside of which the geometric patterns are all different. It has a profusion of colourful flowers and vegetables planted in a chequerboard plan. The effect of the seasonal variations is an ever-changing three dimensional picture. (Photo 2)

In the ornamental garden the box hedges form musical symbols, but pride of place is given to hearts, scrolls, butterflies and fans and more, all of which make up the four sections of the garden of love. When you climb up to the belvedere you can enjoy a magnificent view of the garden of love in its four sections – tender love, passionate love, fickle love and tragic love. (Photo 3)

The water garden is the most tranquil. It is a classic creation based around a pool representing a Louis XV mirror and surrounded by a cloister of linden trees. Here the pool takes centre stage, with the sound of the fountains and the great lawn space bringing calmness and tranquility. (Photo 4)


The herb garden or garden of simples, has many medicinal and culinary plants which were traditional to the Middle Ages.

The arboured maze, where the goal is to find spiritual awakening as you make your way to the central platform.


The Sun Garden which was created in 2008. It consists of three rooms, the Children’s Chamber where there are outdoor games and decorative apple trees, the Sun Chamber with a sun shaped ornamental pond and the Cloud Chamber where little grassy avenues form triangles and wind their way through roses and shrubs.


Villandry is stilled owned by the Carvallo family, and is one of the most visited chateaux in France. In 2007 it received over 330,000 visitors.

The lost garden of Paronella Park

By Tim White, Manager at Lotus Watergardens

Viewing platform and changing rooms.

While travelling through Mareeba in northern Queensland we heard about a property called Paronella Park and decided to go and have a guided tour. Jose Paronella started building Paronella Park in about 1930 after coming to Australia from Spain and building his wealth buying and selling cane farms. His dream was to build a castle and his whole philosophy was built around entertaining people.

Water feature powered by creek.

With the money he saved from his hard work he built castles, ballrooms, cafes, bathing areas, tennis and bocce courts and planted 7000 plants to landscape his gardens. He even built Queensland’s first hydroelectric power turbine to provide electricity to his estate from the waterfall in his backyard, as there was no power in the area. Unfortunately floods and cyclones have ravaged his castle and gardens but you can still see the forethought this man had.

Natural waterfall at Paronella Park.

This man was truly a visionary and, even though Paronella Park is not still owned by the family, the current owners have received a grant from the National Trust to rebuild this beautiful place back to its former glory.

Kauri pines walk.


A Melbourne Garden in July

By James Wall, Nurseryman.

Well it’s been a big month in our garden. The lawns are mown and the edges are done, but the weeds have been out of control. We have embarked on a concerted effort to physically remove as many as we can before they flower. Some spraying will also be done but I try and minimise this. A concern for many councils  around Australia is the very real possibility of weeds building up a resistance to chemicals like Glyphosate. We use a combination of hand removal, weed mat, mulch, and organic sprays like ‘Beat-A-Weed’ as well as traditional weed killers. Beat-A-Weed works well between the pavers and acts by dehydrating the plant.

With the mundane tasks completed, I stare with admiration at my neat green Sir Walter buffalo lawn. It’s looking fantastic and just waiting for the next footy kick. There is a bit of yellowing, and a couch or kikuyu will probably even yellow more. This is normal in cold weather. The worst thing you can do is feed lawn right now and it could even make things worse. Feed in October and if you have kicked the footy on it in winter, keep in mind it may be compacted and need aeration, also done in October. Find out more from our turf experts at The Smart Water Shop

Now for some of the more exciting tasks – like pruning the fruit trees. I love doing this. It’s like getting a tree all neat and tidy before it lets loose again in spring. Look at the tree before you start. Take out any inward growing branches and try and get the classic wine glass shape going. Maybe take a third off long lanky branches.  Apples fruit on second and third year wood so need to done a little differently, where you leave older spurs. I have manually removed all of the leaves off one of my plum trees as I have heard that it will help to have a long winter chill with no leaves. This tree didn’t fruit last year, so let’s see if this makes a difference. Don’t forget to spray stone fruit, before and at bud swell. Yates liquid copper is a good one to use as it dilutes well.

seed raising kit


Another activity I am doing now is sowing vegetable seeds of tomato, chilli and capsicum. You will need a covered propagation tray and preferably bottom heat to
warm the seed raising mix. Sow on top of the soil and cover the seeds with vermiculite. Carefully label each sowing area so you remember what you are growing and when it was sown. Use a watering can with a fine rose (like a cap with little holes) as this won’t blast the seeds away. As soon as they start to grow, make sure they get good light or they will stretch. Gradually remove the protection around the seedlings until they are tough enough to be in direct sunlight. Protect from the cold of night though. Soon they will be ready to transplant into pots.

 We have a family of Indian Myna birds hanging around our house. After doing some research I have found there are people around Australia trapping them and killing them. In Canberra alone some 40,000 have been eradicated. It sounds hideous, but when you read how they destroy our native birds by pushing eggs out of nests, killing chicks and blocking spare hollows with rubbish, I can see why people are doing this. It is a cruel reaction to this non-native pest, but if it means more native parrots and finches, then maybe this is a good thing.

This photo came from the Tweed Shire Council website. There is some interesting information on their eradication program on this web page.


With a bit more cleaning up of a callistemon and dead heading a protea, I am reminded how much I actually enjoy doing the everyday gardening tasks. An old gardener once told me that the reason younger people don’t garden much is that they don’t have the patience to make it past the mundane part. It’s a pity, because beyond that there’s a world of pleasure, in watching the garden grow.

Winter is a great time to come down to Gardenworld and talk to one of our qualified staff. You may just be surprised at what you will learn.

Now available: rhubarb, asparagus, shallots, seed potatoes, roses, bare root fruit and ornamental trees, gladiolus, calla and canna lilies, Red Hot Poker, paeony rose and 4 types of mushroom kits.

Rhubarb Tambo River Red

Happy days gardening in retirement.

By James Wall

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be invited to visit the Parkglen Retirement Community in local Keysborough. It is on 8 acres of lovely pathways and gardens. Just the place to age gracefully. And for a frustrated gardener like me who has to spend too much time in his nursery rather than his own garden, this would be just the dream place for me in my retirement. Lets hope life  pans out that way.

These people are not all keen gardeners but the have an appreciation of their surroundings and  have a lot of knowledge, even if they don’t realise it. That is because each of these people have experienced over 250 seasons throughout their lives. Even the very best horticultural apprentice in Australia (one of which I believe works at Gardenworld !!!) can’t possibly have gained the knowledge as someone who has seen at least 65 winters pass by.

There was a couple of keen gardeners, a woman with great botany knowledge and then a few who had projects in progress. Everyone gets their own little garden, but there is no pressure on anyone, but there is also admiration and respect for those that have some plants that are doing exceptionally well. It was a wonderful morning, and here are a few images of what we saw.

(Just click the image to enlarge and then the back button to get back to this page.)






Older posts «

» Newer posts

Website by SWiM Communications