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Old 04-02-2011, 09:30 PM   #1
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The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show - Updated for 2014

What do the following 5 have in common?
  • Philadelphia, USA
  • Chelsea, England
  • Keukenhof, Holland
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • Cape Town, South Africa

I see lots of hands up on the Dis! Congratulations! You all know that these 5 towns are home to the top 5 Flower Shows in the World!

Well, this week, I’ve had the privilege of attending the annual Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (http://www.melbflowershow.com.au/).



Tickets cost $20 for an adult or $45 for a family of 2 adults and 2 kids. I thought I’d share some of my shots and thoughts with you.

(Continued in Next Post)
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Old 04-02-2011, 09:33 PM   #2
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The Location

(Continued from Previous Post)

The International Flower part of the show is housed at the Royal Exhibition Building and surrounding gardens.




This building is over 100 years old and is used for a variety of shows, exhibitions and functions. I have rather un-fond memories of sitting University exams in the hall, as well as attending the Chocolate Ball, complete with the unintentional floor-to-wall chocolate carpet that was so perfect for stiletto shoes.

The interior looks like this:







And that dome?






I think it is just gorgeous.





The map for the Garden part of the show is probably unreadable in this picture; but it does give you an impression of how large or small the area is…depending on your comparison standard. For me, it is just about perfect for the Melbourne show.




I got there early’ish in the morning. The show kicks off at 9 am and I was through the gates with my DH and DS by 9.30 am. These are the shots I took of the gardens during the course of the day, with varying degrees of crowds.
















As a venue for the International Flower show, it cannot be beat. Melbourne has been blessed by our forefathers having the foresight to plan for large tracts of public spaces at the city edges. The Exhibition Gardens are located in the northeast corner of the city and form one of four or five major parkland cornerstones that surround the city. The gardens are extremely accessible by public transport and road for all to come along.




(Continued in Next Post)
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Old 04-02-2011, 09:39 PM   #3
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The International Flower Show

(Continued from Previous Post)

The flower show attracts Florists, Retailers and Growers from all over the world. The Great Hall is usually filled with a rainbow of colours and scents; this year was no exception.

Whilst I have not visited the IF&G show in over 5 years (and I used to be an avid go-er for the better part of 10 years), this show was one of the best I’ve seen. It was all about the details and the mix of colours.

I took the time to take some shots of the florist exhibits and here are some of them.









Structural elements were a feature in quite a few of the displays, particularly the use of bamboo in the arrangements.






There was one florist that bucked the trend. This display was very popular and it took me a while to get to a position for this shot.




Their display looked good enough to eat!



There was an obvious thread of floral displays and couture on one side of the hall. These were arranged by students.







Gold Medal winner:





The Bronze medal:



I never did find the Silver medal, despite looking twice!


There were a number of large displays arranged by the professional florists. Maybe it was me….but I figured about 70% of the displays ended up with a medal of sorts. Perhaps it was all about keeping the professional happy for next year! I didn’t grab a shot of everything – just the ones that caught my eye.

This was the only gold medal winner, with the naming entry along the lines of moss. I didn’t get it….it was a wall of that lovely yellow Dancing Lady orchids cascading down, bare earth manicured to an inch of its life and a wood stump in one corner.





Silver winners…

More structural bamboo. I think if this was firmly secured, the kids would be more than happy to play on it as a jungle gym set.





I liked the hanging garden effect of this one. I could see aspects of this garden hanging over my decking area.







Bronze medal…and more bamboo.








The Retailers also had their corner of the building. There were a heap of flowers on sale….none of it cheap.







I moved over to the Growers Avenue…




…where I didn’t feel any pain in my back pocket.


A complete kaleidoscope of colour filled this part of the hall!





There is a definitely trend in the growers towards warmer and more vibrant colours in their flowers.


Whites were more white!





And the hot colours just seemed that much more richer in tone to me.








And as always, there is always that one grower bucking the trend. I loved the fact that they managed to grow a green carnation.





Up Next – Water features and whatnots to spend money on
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Old 04-03-2011, 08:01 AM   #4
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Wow, just gorgeous.

This year there will be no Cincinnati Flower show....
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbiwoz View Post
Wow, just gorgeous.

This year there will be no Cincinnati Flower show....
Thanks Bobbi. I'm getting round to the garden and plants....slowly.

That is sad that there is no Cincinnati Flower show. Is this usually a big event and why is there no show?
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:43 PM   #6
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Water features and whatnots to spend money on

With a couple of walk-rounds through the Flower Show part done, it was time for me to head on outside into the Exhibition Gardens and have a look at what the garden suppliers and landscape gardeners had to show this year.

There were a number of garden sculptures available for sale. Most of which were horrendously expensive and not something I could see working in my suburban backyard.

I’ve already posted this picture earlier…but take another look at these garden features. I don’t believe that there was anything down this avenue less than $750.




This little beauty was a “steal” at only $1299.




I liked this spiral; but I wasn’t going to shell out over $6K for it.




I had thought that this was part of the collection of sculptures on offer…turns out that this are garden size replicas of the gold, silver, bronze garden trophies being handed out this year for garden designs (yes, some of the designs are coming up when I get the pictures sorted).




The IF&G show is held in a city; but year after year, the garden suppliers all seem to come with ornaments more appropriate to a farm environment. I’ve never seen anything of a rural nature standing in gardens in my area.



Granted, there are a lot of rural visitors to the show….but they all BUS it in and I doubt that there is sufficient space under the seat to put anything like this there.


And to close out this section, the standard garden tool suppliers also pitch their show specials….




…..but anything that markets for kids are usually the suppliers that blow away the sales competition.




Water features are usually heavily promoted at the show. I suspect the relative lack of suppliers at this year’s show was a reflection of the very long drought we’ve had in Australia.

For the few that were there, large stone-like recycling receptacles seem to dominate the trend.










The outlier to this trend was large metal looking bowls. I got all excited by seeing lotus plants (I’d love to have lotus in my fishpond but don’t get enough sun in that corner)…..and took this shot.



And then I realized that the lotus flowers were faux! Definitely food for thought!


With the long drought, water tanks are becoming another standard feature in the urban gardens. This company was selling what I think is the cream of the crop….with the price tag to match.




But it is a practical thing to design for a garden. Inside the ‘wall’ is storage tank for 2000L of water. And have a look at what they do on the top! Possible space for plantings and a water feature.




I’ve never been one for the formal and uniform look in a garden but this little collection did catch my eye. I could definitely see this working in a corner of my garden and it has made me rethink the eclectic nature of my garden. In any case, I reckon this concept would make a fantastic patio garden somewhere.




There were also a lot of garden furniture and seats for sale, most of it made out of teak. Both DH and I liked the thought of a seat like this…




…but practically, I think this one is more in keeping with our garden style.




And for the kids?






I had to take a picture of this cubby house….perfectly coloured in Lime Green for the Dis.








Up Next – Plants and more plants


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Old 04-03-2011, 06:47 PM   #7
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There was going to be one.
http://www.cincyflowershow.com/

There's an announcement that says they are looking for more participation. Everytime I've been there, it's been crowded, and very enjoyable. It's outside and in tents.

There are many similarities to the displays and the sorts of lectures that were offered in Cincinnati and Philadelphia. Philadelphia's is indoors, and I went to it for many years, even flying back to see it after I moved to Ohio. Philadelphia's is definitely larger and so there were more professional displays, and more participants for the prizes. I enjoyed Cincinnati's because it was outside, however there were quite a few years that we were stuck in rain with mud puddles.
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Old 04-05-2011, 04:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbiwoz View Post
There was going to be one.
http://www.cincyflowershow.com/

There's an announcement that says they are looking for more participation. Everytime I've been there, it's been crowded, and very enjoyable. It's outside and in tents.

There are many similarities to the displays and the sorts of lectures that were offered in Cincinnati and Philadelphia. Philadelphia's is indoors, and I went to it for many years, even flying back to see it after I moved to Ohio. Philadelphia's is definitely larger and so there were more professional displays, and more participants for the prizes. I enjoyed Cincinnati's because it was outside, however there were quite a few years that we were stuck in rain with mud puddles.
Looks interesting. I hope it goes on....
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Old 04-05-2011, 04:04 PM   #9
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Plants, plants and more plants

Time to look at plants!

First up – soap box time for me!

I was amazed at the lack of the perennial English garden favourites – azaleas, gardenias and camellias – at this year’s plant displays. But then, maybe I shouldn’t be. We have had a long drought and the English garden flowering shrubs are notorious water guzzlers.

Whilst a majority of the plant suppliers were moving more in the direction of grasses and low water plants, plenty of the plant suppliers were STILL showing plants that need plenty of TLC…not really appropriate for Australian conditions.

That said, I can now get on with the highly inappropriate but dizzying kaleidoscope of colour power.

A number of plant suppliers brought coleus to brighten up their stands…



…or to add that splash of colour.




Someone should tell them that these are more for indoor plants than for outside; and that they are also require keeping in the wet!


Bulb retailers can always be found at any garden show. A bulb stand always attracts a large number of people and a large number of bulb sales take place at these shows. And people always love signing up for mail order catalogues!

But you have to admit…en masse…nothing beats the beautiful colours of tulips.




Plus I always like to see how the different tulip farms like to set out their stands….some more elaborate than others!




Remember I said that I thought there is a definitely trend in the growers towards warmer and more vibrant colours in their flowers? Seems like the same holds true in the land of the tulips as well…






I used to love this particular bulb duo colour combination of yellows and oranges. Seemed to me like they’ve added pink to the mix as well. So pretty!




There were also quite a few suppliers selling irises, of the bearded and dutch variety.




There were quite a few freesia bulbs for sale and I thought that there was a definite trend towards more fragrance in the flowers…




Not just in the freesias….but definitely in the roses as well.




The perfume from the roses was just stunning beyond belief!









I’ve never really been a fan of the bromeliads. They grow really well in tropical and sub-tropical conditions and in the Melbourne temperate climate; they just seem to be too much effort to me. However, after this show, I might go and get some and try them as indoor plants.

Just look at these colours!











I have a brick pier fence with wrought iron in-fills in the front garden and have been long toying with the idea of planting a climbing plant to trail along the wrought iron. The prime candidate has been the old fashioned clematis.






I love these flowers; but as I am slowly converting my front garden toward growing fruits and vegies, I think I’m going to have to settle for a passionfruit vine instead.


There were also the usual offerings for annual colour…purple tones seems to be the new “black” for this year.






And for anyone reading that has a small backyard, there is always the option of vertical planting....like this...




And to end on an appropriate environmental note, this indigenous Kangaroo’s paw is probably much more appropriate in an Aussie garden. It is particularly hardy and extremely drought tolerant.




But, sadly, I’ve never really seriously contemplated putting this in my garden.


(Continued in Next Post)
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Old 04-05-2011, 04:09 PM   #10
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And the big trend winner is….

(Continued from Previous Post)


Vegies, vegies and more vegies!


Without a doubt, the largest number of plants available for sale and on display at this year’s show was the humble vegetable garden!




I could scarcely walk past two stands without tripping over yet another wooden crate filled with enough green leaves to make any child cringe at the thought of eating them!




A lot of the crates were made out of pinewood. I sure hope that they didn’t use arsenic treated pine in the construction…




….because those pine vegetable planter boxes were everywhere….large, of at least 600 mm height…



…and small, for growing herbs.






Alternatives to pine were available… Some suppliers chose to show how easy urban vegie planting can be…






Others…just chose to sell the containers. And judging by the crowd walking around, recycled plastic tubs were the rage at the show. Quite a number of them were sporting the new handbag/shopping accessory.




Galvanised iron was seen, not just for water tanks, but also as a potential container for the vegetable patch. If you plan to plant trees in either the boxes or the gal iron, the container needs to be a minimum of 1 m in height.




Me? I’m not sure I like this look in my garden.




Whilst it makes vegetable gardening easy and relatively mess-free, I’m not sure I could safely navigate my way round the crates and gal iron containers in the dark after one glass of red!



Up next – Garden Designs


To whet your appetite, have a look at this outdoor room…complete with rooftop vegie patch!




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Old 04-06-2011, 06:15 AM   #11
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WOW, Beautiful show! Inspiring! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 04-06-2011, 03:34 PM   #12
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Gorgeous pictures! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:09 AM   #13
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Quote:
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WOW, Beautiful show! Inspiring! Thanks for sharing!
Quote:
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Gorgeous pictures! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for reading! Got one more update coming up.

BTW - Deb MickeyEars..I posted this on the vegie gardening thread and wasn't sure you saw it. We briefly met last year at the DisMeet at SAB. I think I even have a photo of that group still. Nice to cross paths again.
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:19 AM   #14
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Ideal Garden Designs

The Outdoor Room


The Australian backyard was one of those iconic cultural things that seemed to be as Aussie as Vegemite, Lamingtons, Footy, Meat pies and Foster’s Beer. Up until the 80’s, Aussie backyards was a given for any house/block purchased and consisted of a fair bit of grass area (either for the kids to run around in or for your mates to sit out and have a late night), the barbeque (hence the shrimp on Barbie comment) and the Hill Hoist’s rotary clothes line. It seemed like kids in the street ran from one backyard to another and played outside most of the time.

Since the 80’s, there has been a consistent trend of sub-dividing the standard quarter acre block and building multiple, medium density, town houses on blocks that used to have the one house and the big backyard. The Aussie backyard in Australia is in serious decline and is going the way of the dinosaur.

Whether I like it or not, home developers continue to buy up the larger blocks of land and continue to build the McMansions that people seem to want today.

So for me…this part of the IF&G show is something that I always am intrigued to see.

Good garden designers are a bit like good architects. You know they are out there…but they are notoriously hard to find and are incredibly expensive! Some time back, when I was regularly going to the show, the Garden Design section was the first area I used to hit. In my opinion, a good garden designer should be able to take your lifestyle into account and turn the backyard into an outdoor room extension to the house. Thankfully, since about the mid 90’s, most of the garden designer I’ve spoke with seem to finally understand this!

Why am I talking about the garden designers? Well….because they are helping reverse the trend of larger blocks being snapped up by property developers. Any home that has a decent backyard, beautifully landscaped will attract a lot more buyers and push the prices up beyond what a property developer will be prepared to pay for it.
But you’re here to see the pictures…so on we go.

I headed into this section and was immediately amused to see this layout. Completely straight out of the textbook backyard garden of the 80’s!




Yet…fantastically laid out for families with young kids.



This design won the gold medal category for the small courtyard garden.




There is probably a bit too much concrete for my tastes.


You’ve already seen the teaser to this garden. If I recall correctly, it was called The Pool, or something along those lines. Yes, that is a dunking pool in the front….




…. and a waterfall running down into the pool on the side.




It obviously won an award…but I’m not sure for which category.


The outdoor studio was a consistent theme in this year’s garden designs. The other consistent theme in garden designs was the inclusion of the vegetable patch in one form or another.




I took a careful look around this particular design…seems like the only way up to harvest the crop is on a ladder. Not very practical on that front.


Another beautiful concept; highly structured, low maintenance and ideal for outdoor entertaining.




Not one I could see in my backyard.

This took the outdoor room concept just a little bit too far for me. Where is the garden?




And if the previous design is not one that I can see in my backyard, I don’t think I need to repeat myself for this one.



I think this next garden design may have been inspired from the Lord of The Rings and Middle Earth…




…have a look at the other side of the garden.




I quite liked this garden concept. It was simple but beautiful to me. I liked the thought of the trees and if I did put something like this in my backyard, I would be substituting the birch with fruit trees. I liked the look of the tulips…..but really, for the same effect, daffodils are much more low maintenance than tulips.



This next garden design was a gold medal winner. It came with a spa…




…outdoor entertaining area, patch of green grass and flowerbeds.




A bit too perfectly manicured for my eclectic tastes.



This garden design was also a gold medal winner.




It must have been the seats in the lap pool that tipped the scales!






If I had oodles of money, I think I would want a backyard that kinda had this sort of look and feel.




This is from the other corner…I would fill the flowerbeds with a combination of flowering plants and vegetables. Fruit trees would be what I would plant as well.





This particular garden was sponsored by one of the biggest vegetable seedling suppliers in Australia. It was highly popular with the public…







….and no prizes for guessing that only vegetables could be found in the garden.



Designers also catered for small garden spaces and these three designs caught my eye.









I could easily see them working in my backyard.


(I think I know how Goldilocks felt....)



(Continued in Next Post - Final Words)
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:21 AM   #15
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(Continued from Previous Post)


Final words

All in all, I spent the better part of 4 or 5 hours at this year’s show. I was pleased to have made it back and to have gone with DH and DS.

There were quite a few ideas and concepts that I picked up at this year’s show and I even hope to incorporate some of those in my garden at some stage.

I hope that this thread has provided you with a feeling of having been there with me and I wish you all good gardening.



And just to finish up, I would like to be a food porn amateur photographer…someday….so here are my pictures of some of the food we ate on this day.

Breakfast






Lunch and snacks






Thanks for reading!


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