Something tactile, ageless, pertinent, threatened.
Which plant was the hero of your garden and why?
The grasses because they are so unassuming but when paired with something solid to give them context, their colour, movement, and delicacy are highlighted. They also provide a background to plants around them highlighting the form and colour of their companions.
What was an obstacle you had to overcome and how did you do it?
Balancing work, motherhood and study with 16 days of intense MIFGS action. My husband and children supported and encouraged my involvement in MIFGS as they knew it was something I really wanted to challenge myself with. Because of their support I was able to take time off work & study, and they all stepped up and kept the household chugging over whilst I totally immersed myself in creating my Achievable Garden.
What piece of feedback will you always remember?
Many people commented that it was like country Victoria; which was my intent! I feel honoured that a moment from my memory resonated with so many people of different ages, genders and nationalities. The smiles on people’s faces when they were looking at my garden, the children wanting to touch the different materials, the wistful memories shared will stay with me, but so too will the Ahhh moments when I needed to explain to people the idea behind the design; some people had only tasted Yabbies rather than caught them; some people consider Allocasuarina a weed in their part of Australia; some people were not aware of the plight of our grasslands. So I suppose to summarise, the feedback I will always remember is that understanding stems from
experience, exposure and dialogue, and that a landscape design can be a catalyst for change.
The stage is yours, what do you want to say?
The opportunity to create an Achievable Garden at Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show was amazing. The learning curve was huge and I reveled in the chance to step away from being mother/wife/daughter/student/employee and to challenge myself; it was affirmation of who I am and what makes me happy. From this experience I’ve discovered that I am looking forward to creating more gardens which provoke conversation, stimulate and educate, and hope that I can inspire people to find themselves, be true to themselves, and find beauty in the little details. Whilst working on my design, which began with memories of Yabbying in central Victoria with Gran, it took on a life of its own. Grasslands, wildflowers, symbiotic relationships, educating children and ourselves about our threatened indigenous environments, the importance of engaging ourselves and our children in our local environment, the use of tactile materials in a landscape design, and researching current studies being done about our indigenous plants all played a part in the creation of “It’s Not Nothing”.
I enjoyed looking at the finer details such as utilising Allocasuarina leaf mulch under the Allocasuarina trees and threading their seed pods as a ‘insect hotel’ or string of beads. I also paid attention to how different elements overlapped; how the delicate seed heads of the grasses interacted with the rusty metal of the shed and the solid post and rail fence. Everything had a reason and purpose, for example the haunting mural in the background is inspired by the Allocasuarina; the ghostly sounds of the wind through its leaves, its graceful beauty and the symbiotic relationship it has with the land.
The physical aspect of creating this garden posed its own set of challenges, and I quickly learned to use ‘hard core’ power tools such as nail guns… so liberating ???? I absolutely loved the chance to see my design from paper through to completion, and be totally immersed in its creation; I will never forget the day before it was supposed to be finished, we put in a 12 hour day in the relentless rain. By the time Dympna (a volunteer who was invaluable) and I finished we were literally wringing wet, exhausted and very aware of the impending deadline. But we did it… and ‘It’s Not Nothing’ won the Creative Space Award. “It’s Not Nothing ” was definitely something I’m going to remember for a mighty long time. The conversations I had during MIFGS about conservation, regeneration, education, and the concerns of so many people about our grasslands was… inspiring.