Category Archive: Gardenworld News

Melbourne Flower & Garden Show 2019

Ok, so it was called The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, brought to you by Lawn Solutions, or more colloquially as MIFGS. Blah blah blah. (Personally I think it should just be called The Melbourne Flower Show).

All photos below are in no particular order and on no particular day, using an iphone 7plus with images optimised down to around 200k. James Wall 2019.

Collector's Cornerleaf and bearpalazzo by Leaf and BearTo Be Continued….

Phillip Withers creates The 2017 ‘Best In Show’

By James Wall.

A story about a gold medal Show Garden that Gardenworld sourced many of the plants for.

On a cold Wednesday morning we were queuing outside the historical Exhibition Buildings when I bumped into a rather forlorn looking Phillip Withers. Like most designers doing a show garden, the last few nights had been late ones. Phil however looked a little pale. It after wimpish handshake or two I noticed his right hand was looking damaged. He had sustained a rather large splinter late last night and this had caused his hand to swell considerably. The hospital had been unable to remove the stubborn fragment of wood, but this was one breakfast that Phil could not resist.

This was the awards breakfast. A rather silly time slot as it is on at 7.15am on the first day of the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show. I guess it’s the only time you can arrange all these dignitaries in the one room. At least the coffee was dark and the food was out soon.

Of course there were only a few awards announced, with the cream of them being ‘Best In Show’. This is for the best outdoor garden display. This is what Landscape Designers aspire to, and hang there hat on. For those that have never won it, it can be an incurable addiction leading to the quest of a lifetime – sometimes an Everest that is never reached.

“and the winning garden is ‘I See Wild’ by Phil Withers. There was a gasp in the room. It was not one of the more formal gardens that one. It was not the typical garden that 90% of clients would ask for. It was different – it was wild, maybe that was why it one. It was also built on time, and the quality of plants made the garden shine. There was an aura.


I am sure at this point all the pain left Phil’s hand and for him, his team, and his sponsors, there was a shiver of delight and almost a tear in the eye. His speech was humble, loose and genuine, in its typical Phil way. Here was a man who had toiled on show gardens with bronze and silver medals only, but who had come up through the ranks and not only got gold, but the even more coveted, best in show.

Later that morning there were some mumbles from the detractors of Phil’s garden. How can a garden have a grass tree, a fig tree and a 3 metre cactus make sense. What is the theme ? What type of garden is this ? How can it have won Best In Show with very little hard construction like a building, or without the obligatory but fraught with danger water feature. There was something special about this garden though, because the punters dwelled, they stared, they oohed and they aahed. Yes maybe Phil did pull off a heist – but gee he did it well.

“Wild At Heart” wins 1st prize in Boutique Garden Competition

Emmaline Bowman is one of the new generation of Landscape Designers. A woman brought up in the Gippsland countryside, Emmaline practices what she preaches. Her belief in using native plants was seen first hand in this years Melbourne International Flower & Garden  Show where she won first prize in the Boutique Garden Competition. Now her company, Stem Landscape Architecture & Design is now going to be in high demand, to create more of her wonderful gardens.

The garden Emmaline designed was all about bringing nature into your own backyard. We can all have our own little piece of nature, no matter how small our garden is. It’s not just about using native plants, although that’s a good start. It is about creating a habitat, and this might include water, little home for insects and the acceptance that insects, birds, and animals are all a part of it.

The garden was aptly named, “Wild At Heart” To enter this competition, the garden had to be 5m x 5m in size. It was a beautiful garden that expressed itself well. It was also well built (all above ground) and was judged to be the best in its category. One of the features was a vertical garden of water plants running into a pond.

Here is what Emmaline’s submission said about the garden:

‘Wild at Heart’ is a garden designed to integrate Australia’s native flora and fauna into a retreat for people to unwind and reconnect with nature. It is a conservation project bringing Australia’s unique natural environment into urban backyards; unifying rehabilitation with the opportunity for people to once again experience nature in everyday life.

Working as a system, it is a place where water naturally cools the air as it trickles down a planted wall into a pond that winds down past the recycled timber deck and where native frogs provide a wonderful symphony of melodic tunes amongst the flowering water plants. It is where misshapen stones and boulders provide homes for skinks and geckos to feast on the insects that are drawn into the garden, and where native bees and insects pollinate the numerous native flowers and edible plants.

This garden provides a space where one can step back into nature, away from the harsh sounds, smells and bustle of city and urban life, to a place where nature works effortlessly. Children can observe and discover Earths own creations as children did in years past. It is a place that allows you to unwind as you relax on a suspended day bed with a beverage and your favourite book.

Gardenworld was proud to provide plants towards this project. Lotus Watergardens also provided the murray river rainbows – a small native fish that lived in the pond.

Link: Stem Landscape Architecture & Design

Behind the scenes at the 2017 Flower Show

We just thought we would have a peek over the fence at this years Melbourne Flower Show.

Gardenworld has been proud to supply plants to Phillip Withers show garden show and a boutique garden by Emmaline Bowman. And of course our good friends Brent Reid from Candeo Design and Semken Landscaping are also there.

We are also near the fountain, holding gardening talks and demonstrations brought to you by independent nurseries from all over Victoria.

Phillip Withers - I See Wild 2017


Champion plants of the Carniverous form.

Last weekend Collector’s Corner @ Gardenworld held the annual show for the Victorian Carniverous Plants Society.Apologies for at this stage not naming the growers of these two champion plants.

Heliamphora-folliculataThe Grand Champion was Heliamphora folliculata (murosipan) pictured above. Heliamphora folliculata is a species of Marsh Pitcher Plant endemic to the Aparaman group of tepuis in Venezuela. It grows on all four mountains: Aparaman Tepui, Murosipan Tepui, Tereke Tepui and Kamakeiwaran Tepui.

cephalotusThe Cephalotus first place went to this amazing terrarium planting above. Cephalotus is a genus which contains one species, Cephalotus follicularis the Australian pitcher plant, a small carnivorous pitcher plant. This is apparently a challenging plant to grow. This one is thriving.

How to make a Succulent Tin Container

By Bonnie-Marie Hibbs.

Our garden sheds and garages are a classic hiding spot for all those old items that we forget we even have. There have been countless of times I have gone through and cleaned out my shed and thrown away items that could have been repurposed in the garden. I look back on some of those items and think to myself,  ‘I could have used that to make a really interesting planter pot’.

Over the years I have started to ‘up-cycle’ old objects and turn them into unique containers for my plants. Featured around my garden are an assortment of old strainers, tins, spoons and many more objects that I have turned into fun eye-catching containers. When creating these pots I love to plant them up with a variety of different succulents and cacti. I find these types of plants to be great because they are very reliable and don’t require much maintenance to keep them happy in smaller containers. There are also a huge variety of textures and colours to choose from and you can create some very beautiful containers!

In this video I show you how you can make your very own succulent tin container and it is super easy and quick to make. They are also a great gift for anyone who just starting to grow succulents for the first time and are a fun gift to even the experienced gardener.

The great bougainvillea wall of Brisbane

By James Wall.

Upon a recent trip to Brisbane, we found this amazing wall with espaliered bougainvillea growing along wires. The differing angles of the steel, and the fact that the wall was curved, created a sensual, groovy, and artistic display of vertical gardening.

It was located on the Southbank, a place on the river that absolutely buzzes with people and activities. There is civic work that has been done to this area over many decades, which has resulted in true gem of a place in a large city.

When I mentioned the bougainvillea wall to a couple of locals that I knew from the local nursery industry, they were surprised that it looked that good. For many years, they felt it had struggled  to perform and was not in a great state. They were very keen to go and visit it again.

Some of the new bougainvilleas are not as out of control as the older varieties. Also seen right on the river were these dwarf varieties, absolutely loving the conditions. The plants struggle a bit in Melbourne’s winters and that’s why we don’t recommend planting them until the warmer weather arrives – November would be perfect, as it gives them months to establish before the next winter.

For more information about bougainvillea, check this story out here.

A Melbourne Nursery in June

The days are at their shortest and finally there is winter chill in the air. Not much gardening gets done after work at the moment. It just gets dark too quickly. The weekend is now the time to get out amongst the plants. Up early and go for a morning walk because that’s when you see some great front gardens and start to learn what other people are growing in the neighbourhood.

Westringia Deep Purple

Westringia Deep Purple

One plant we are seeing more on in the garden is rosemary. It is one tough plant and there are lots of interesting varieties like Chefs Choice. It is semi-prostrate and usually stays under a metre. It also grows with a slight twist which is rather interesting. There are also Westringia which are native rosemary and our current favourite there is a variety called Deep Purple. These are not for cooking, but make great hedges or by itself as something that will fill in a big gap.

Now is a good time to move roses and deciduous trees if you now realise you have planted them in the wrong spot. Cut the soil with a spade in a circle around the plant. Dig underneath and try to keep the root ball undisturbed. Plant at ground level, or in a pot if you can’t plant straight away. Water with seaweed solution a few times over the next 3 months and your plants chances of survival are great.

Think about pruning deciduous fruit trees over the next couple of months. Spend a bit of time just looking at the plants structure before you cut. Cut any weak twiggy wood out and any branches growing inwards. You want that nice wine glass shape unless of course you are espaliering the tree along a fence in which you will need to tie down and control some of the branches.

Look out for bare-root fruit trees on sale now at the nursery. This month you get the biggest choice of fruit trees available, including plants with 2 and 3 different varieties grafted onto them. Amazing plants like these are always in short supply so you need to be early for one of those.

There are also rhubarb and asparagus crowns available now. These gnarly looking things are at least 2 years old and will get you off to a great start.

Look out for our huge range of hellebore from Post Office Plants. The flowers come in singles and doubles in an array of colours.



Now is a good time to add some lime to your vegetable garden. This helps when soil becomes acidic, which can occur when manures are used frequently and over a long period. Dolomite lime will help raise the ph with its calcium, but also contains magnesium, an important nutrient for healthy plant growth. Don’t fertilise at the same time.

We have just harvested some early snow peas and these have been good to eat raw as they are small and tender. Don’t let your veggies get too old – get stuck into them and follow up with some fresh plantings of lettuce, cabbage, pak choi, spring onions and red onions to keep you going before spring plantings. Water regularly and try to do it in the morning. Watering plants after work will only mean they are wet, as well as cold when they go into the night – not great for plant health.

Enjoy your winter garden.

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.

A Melbourne garden in March

By James Wall.

Walking around the nursery, it seems there is a lot to be done. There are a whole lot of plants that prefer to be planted at this time of year and we are determined to plant as many of these plants as we possibly can. Of course the daylight lengths are also getting shorter, so it’s time to get a wriggle on.

The list of plants that I would like to plant this month are wide and varied. Some we will eat and some we will enjoy in other ways. Like all things in nature, some plants will prosper, and some will fail. Let’s just hope more of them succeed than not. Some of the plants include:


Foxglove – if you want them to flower in spring, now is the time to get them in. Their large leaves are lush and their tall flower spires make a spectacular backdrop. Available in punnets now.

Daffodils – once you have them growing, they will reward year after year. Available in lots of interesting creams and yellows, but the King Alfred are the all time favourites and perform well in Melbourne. Available as bulbs.

Garlic – planted now, a bulb can be broken up into around 8 cloves, each one growing into a new bulb. Multiply that again in a year and you could have 64 bulbs – what a return on your investment. Plant in March and April to get some good growth before winter and then in spring, watch them fly.

Pansies and violas – great value if planted now as they will perform strongly for many months. Pink shades are one of the best performers. Buy quality seedlings, as you will get better results from these stronger varieties. Stay away from Can Can and Giant Butterfly as these old varieties are not disease resistant.

Broccoli – it’s an Australian staple and quite easy to grow. Spray with Yates Success to control white cabbage moth larvae from chewing your leaves.

white onions and purple garlic

Onions – are one of the highest yielding crops per square metre, mainly because you can plant so close together. White onions are usually the first to be planted, but follow up with red or brown if you have the room.

Delphiniums – the vivid blue flowers in spring won’t happen if you don’t plant now. This is an old fashioned perennial garden plant and is not as readily available as it once was.

delphinium - plant seedlings now so they look like this in spring



Sweet Peas – don’t forget to sow them on St Patrick’s Day (March 17th) and follow it up with a Guinness, if that tickles you fancy.

The rewards in spring are well worth the effort. Great for climbing up posts and walls.

If planting in dry sandy soils, soak the seeds overnight in warm water. If the soil is moist, this is not necessary.

The best way to grow sweet pea is from seed. Just stick your finger in the soil and drop in 2 seeds. Plant 10cm apart.

The month old seedlings seem really slow like they are not doing much but then all of a sudden they will burst into frenzied growth and reward you with spring flowers. Truly a spectacular display when in full bloom.

Jobs in the garden for March, include feeding fruit trees, especially those you have harvested from in the last six months. Feed gardenias, and any other shrubs that look a bit faded in the leaves. This may even include native plants in which we recommend native fertiliser as it contains less phosphorus. Try the new Bush Tucker from Neutrog.

Lots to do and so little time. Throw in the Melbourne Flower Show from the 16th – 20th March and it truly is a great month for garden lovers. Ok, so we probably won’t get it all done, but then as all gardeners know, you never get it all done – there is always something to do in the garden – and that’s the way we love it.

Bulbs :

 Anenome. Daffodils, Dutch Iris, Freesia, Hyacinths, Jonquils, Tulips, Ranunculus

Flowers :

Aquilegia, Calendula, Cineraria, Delphinium, Hollyhock, Foxglove, Linaria, Nemesia, Pansy, Primula, Polyanthus, Poppy, Viola

Vegies & Herbs :

Beetroot, Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Carrots, Coriander, Garlic, Lettuce, Leek, Parsnip, Onions, Oregano, Radish, Turnip, Thyme

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