I was interested last year at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show to see that Flemings had moved away from their usual style of garden, such as the huge outdoor living area of the 2010 garden, to a garden with far more focus on the plants. In 2011 the Trailfinders garden focused on the travels of Joseph Banks and the plants he discovered and introduced to horticulture. This year the Flemings Trailfinders garden continues to focus on plants but through showing how city gardeners in Melbourne and Sydney utilise not only their native plants but also plants from around the world in their gardens. I think this is very interesting as I think here in the UK many of us still treat plants from Australia as tender and therefore don’t incorporate them into mixed planting so much therefore it will be interesting to see how the plants are combined and whether this would translate to an English garden.
This year’s Trailfinder’s Australian Garden is being designed by Jason Hodges and as we have come to expect from Fleming’s gardens there will be a barbeque, pizza oven, plunge pool and deck area – oh and an outdoor bath of course! It really highlights the differences that the weather can have on how we use our gardens. Here in the UK we get excited if we have a couple of weeks where we can eat outside, in Australia it is a way of life.
Anyway, it is the plants I will be interested in and how the Australian plants are combined with plants from around the world. Jason Hodges’ plant list is quite interesting. It includes Australia natives such as Myoporum parvifolium, a ground cover plant, and Lomandra confertifolia ‘Little Pal’, a native grass which I think might be hardy in the UK. Alongside these Jason has included Acanthus mollis, a striking foliage plant, that has long been associated with English herbaceous borders as well as Asplenium scolopendrium and Blechnum spicant, two ferns from the Northern Hemisphere. The Flemings team have sourced plants not only from Australia but also from Europe so the garden will be a real international effort.
I think it will be very interesting to see how the plants from the opposite sides of the world are combined in this showgarden and how they are used to create a representation of Australian life. I am looking forward to seeing the garden in the flesh so to speak.