Category Archive: Events

Epic flowers of the Dahlia Society.

Written and photos by Bonnie-Marie Hibbs. 

The Dahlia Society of Victoria was first established in 1960 by a group of enthusiastic lovers of the brilliant blooms. Their aim was to share not only their love for these flowers but the culture behind the Dahlias as well. The society is going strong and continues to hold events all over Victoria.

We had the pleasure of hosting the Dahlia Society this past weekend at the Gardenworld nursery. On display were hundreds of colourful dahlias which were all grown by the Dahlia Society members including some varieties which were bred over a number of years by some of the members. One particular Dahlia called Tiny Tots stood out from its giant siblings and was voted by the Gardenworld staff as the ‘cutest’ dahlia on show. This petite dahlia was developed over 10 years by one member who aimed to create bright, colourful flowers with strong stems ideal for cut flowers.

There are hundreds of species of Dahlias with a range of colours and sizes. The best time to begin planting these classic flowers is at the beginning of October and November. You can plant them as tubers or from pots which are usually found in nurseries later in the season. Make sure not to over water them as they can rot easily. Give it good water if the soil is dry. Once the tuber has emerged from the soil, approximately 10-15cm high, you can start watering more regularly.

Depending on the age of the Dahlia tuber it can take 6- 8 weeks until the first flower buds appear. Dahlia flowers begin to emerge in late summer and will continue to bloom throughout the autumn months. Dahlias are available in both large and dwarf forms. Dwarf varieties will grow to 50cm high making them ideal for container gardens or small patio gardens. If you prefer the larger forms they range from 1.2 – 2.0 metres tall! A little tip for the taller varieties: it is best to keep them staked as this will encourage stronger stems and will provide support for the plants as they grown.

Dahlias thrive in a warm sunny position in the garden with well-drained soil! The most ideal position is all day sun otherwise an area with afternoon sun. To achieve the best growth and performance for your Dahlias keep them well fertilised when they first emerge from the soil! Once the plants have begun to shoot apply powder or palletised all-purpose fertiliser to the soil surface and water it into the soil.

Dahlias can be that stunning floral display inside and out of the home that you might have been searching for. They can be a vibrant pop of colour in the autumn months when most of the summer flowers begin to finish in the garden. With new forms continually being developed I have no doubt that there is a Dahlia out there for everyone.

Autumn Rose Spectacular in full bloom.

Story & Photography by: Bonnie-Marie Hibbs.

If you happened to stop by Gardenworld over the weekend you may have noticed the abundance of bright coloured blooms that the Rose Society of Victoria had on display. Displayed were some of the society’s best performing roses for flower form, colour and fragrance.

The brightly coloured blooms were a big show stopper as you walked into Gardenworld Nursery. There were close to a hundred different coloured blooms on display for the public to enjoy. The roses ranged from vibrant yellows, orange and reds to the dusky romantic pinks.


Bella Rose is a low growing floribunda rose which is very disease resistant once established. Beautiful pink blooms form in clusters and repeatedly blooming throughout the growing season. The flowers have a sweet and subtle fragrance.

Brass Band

Brass Band produces vibrant apricot flowers in multiple clusters (floribunda) atop of the bush which are strong fragrance. The vibrant blooms contrast beautifully with the dark glossy green leaves making them great for the purpose of cut flowers. Growing to a height of 1.3metres and growing to a width of 1.5metres makes this a perfect bush rose in the garden.

Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci is a rose with a vintage form which reminds many garden lovers of English roses. The rich pink coloured blooms have a very strong scent which will last for days! Each of the rosette shaped blooms has up to 70 petals making them a real show stopper! You can expect repeated flowering throughout the growing seasons (Spring and Summer) and even into late Autumn. Growing to a height and width of 1.5metres this could be the perfect rose to fill a gap in the garden with!

Many of the roses that were on display over the weekend are available at our nursery. For any questions or request as to what we might have in stock contact us via phone or email.



“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

Friday night at the Garden Club

By James Wall.

You don’t often get to talk on a Friday night at a garden club. But tonight was the Waverley Garden Club’s monthly meeting. With over 100 keen members, I was looking forward to the visit.

Upon entering the competition area, there were only the judges and stewards to be seen. No-one else was allowed in, but fortunately I snuck through the security !

It was delightful to see the entries. Passion shone through. There were prized specimens everywhere. The blackberries were perfect. The floating flowers amazing and the vegetables as good as you will find.

Later that night, there were winners and losers, but nobody seemed to care……..much.

Such a good bunch of people, all passionate about their gardens.

Here are a few snapshots of the event, with more to follow.




Tiny Titan – the plant that was huge.


BOTANICAL NAME – Amorphophallus titanum.

It was a week or so before christmas that the plant appeared at Gardenworld. It turned out that a staff member from

Giant Arum Event

Photo as at 15th December 2016

Collector’s corner, Marco, had bought the tuber quite a few years ago and then sold it to

his boss Jeno who had grown it on in a glasshouse at his wholesale nursery. That turned out to be a perfect place to protect the plant from Melbourne’s cold winters. It does of course come from the mountainous tropics of Sumatra in Indonesia. It was years later that the plant decided that it was actually going to flower. As the giant flower began to arise, it began growing at a rate of 10cm per day.

For about three or four days, Gardenworld patronage increased by over 40%. Quite literally there were people everywhere and the cafe was run off its feet. We’ve never before seen a plant create so much of a stir – not even the rose show could compete with this ! There were news crews doing stories and suddenly the mystical plant appeared in The Herald Sun and on Channel Seven news among other places. Crikey, even Costa from gardening Australia turned up. If you couldn’t make it in, there was even a live stream on Facebook. Yes people from all around the world tuned in. There was Titan Arum mania.

Pretty soon, after a few days, it was all over. There was one day of a perfect flower, and on this day this ‘corpse’ plant started getting all stinky in order to attract flies as pollinators. Then, quite strangely, the next day, the plant got stage fright and then actually closed. No amount of attention from the crowds could re-open it. A day of so later the flower collapsed and it was the end of the show – for this time. This was only a little guy, so when he comes back, maybe in a few years more, Tiny will be even bigger.

Photo as at 23rd december 2016

The only other plants we knew to have flowered in captivity in Australia were in the Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide Botanic Gardens. The last time one flowered in Melbourne at the Royal Botanic Gardens (RBGM)  was January 2013, you can read about that at this link.

This giant flowering Arum Lily rarely flowers in captivity. According to the RBGM, since its discovery in 1878 by Italian Odoardo Beccari, prior to 1989 only 21 flowering events had been recorded worldwide in any botanic garden. Since 1989 it has been done another 80 times, reflecting improved horticultural knowledge and practices.

This variety holds the world record of the largest un-branched flower.

Native to the tropical rain forests of Sumatra, the flower has been known to get up to three metres tall and over a metre wide.

BOTANICAL NAME – Amorphophallus titanum – photo as at 28th December 2016


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.

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