When the landscaping fraternity speaks of their bucket list, you might hear of events like the Ellerslie International Flower Show, Chelsea Flower Show or the Melbourne International Flower and Garden show. As a professional landscape architect or landscape designer, the pinnacle of your trade is to put it on show for the world to see and of course be judged!
The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show has been locked on the calendar of garden lovers, landscapers, landscape architects and horticulturalists in Australia and around the world since its inception in 1995. It has grown to be the largest horticultural event in the southern hemisphere, attracting over 100,000 visitors and is rated among the top five garden shows in the world.
But there’s now a new kid on the block… The Brisbane International Garden Show, or affectionately named BIGS, launched in October 2015 with the inaugural event held at the Pine Rivers Park, North of Brisbane to great success, attracting upward of 20,000 people over the 4-days.
From all reports, the show exceeded expectations and came together to offer the public heaps of inspiration. The atmosphere was brimming with wisdom, from the show gardens to the lecture stage, with industry professionals offering up tips, tricks, and advice to all those seeking information.
The Home Edition team caught up with a young local Brisbane Landscaper, Alistair Hutton from A&R Evergreen whose show garden entrant aptly named ‘Backyard Evolution’ won a gold medal and best-in-show at the 2015 event.
With Jim Forgarty on hand for the judging, a Chelsea award winning landscape designer himself, the A&R Evergreen team produced a garden that performed superbly in all areas of judging including design & impression, construction & finish, and plants. Jim Fogarty’s impression of the garden was fantastic and he was pleased to see the consistent theme of Alistair’s garden in both the hard elements and also in the plant choices.
In an earlier interview, Alistair said in reference to their involvement in the BIGS event that “We’ve been discussing (exhibiting a garden) for years, we really embraced it this year, as did the other competitors.” Read on to see what else Alistair shared about their award winning garden and Brisbane’s latest offering.
Q. Alistair, could you give us a little background on your prize winning design?
Being the first Brisbane International Garden Show, we wanted to show how Brisbane has transformed from an old country town into an established city of today. It was our aim to reflect this progression through our design by creating a rustic feel through use of natural materials such as sandstone for seating, river rocks as firepit and decomposed granite as the central spiralling pathway.
Q. What were the key materials you used throughout your design?
With a theme of Brisbane, we made a conscious effort to incorporate materials sourced from the local landscape such as hardwood sourced from the old Hornybrook Bridge used in the seating, Helidon Sandstone Blocks, a widely used material in building the Brisbane CBD during the early 1900’s and spotted gum slats sourced locally from Wondai.
The large feature Bottle tree was a favourite and it required an 8-tonne crane truck just to get it in place on-site. And lastly, organic decomposed granite used as pathways throughout with alternating timber slices and ‘living tiles’ as natural steppers that bubbled out into the Honeycomb pebble surface of the sustainable vegetable patch.
Q. What do you think are some of the current trends in garden design in QLD and Australia?
At the moment people are after a liveable area that blends into nature, which is probably less of a trend and more of an inbuilt human value. Many of our clients ask us to design protected outdoor spaces that simultaneously create a sense of isolation and connection. We like to keep our designs quite formal surrounding the house but progressing to a more natural and flowing outlay when approaching a property’s natural boundaries.
Q. Garden shows such as BIGS, Melbourne and Chelsea are great opportunities for landscape architects and designers to shows their wares. We often hear of great Australian designs wowing the crowds at other international events, do you think Brisbane designers can match it with the best?
Brisbane designers can definitely mix it with the best. Chelsea has more of a following and more financial backing than the new Brisbane International Garden Show, which would allow designers to approach the design process a little more freely. In a few years time, BIGS will be a must-do event and will rank just as highly as the coveted Melbourne and Chelsea!
Q. What’s next for you and your team at A&R Evergreen?
We strive to continually build upon and deliver our specialised residential landscaping design and construction services. It is our intention to enter into more garden shows both across Australia and hopefully one day internationally (Chelsea).
The Brisbane International Garden Show is an annual event held in October. Details on the upcoming 2016 event will be available closer to the date. We look forward to seeing an even greater turnout next year and some even more fantastic designs!
Official photo’s sourced: Brisbane International Garden Show