MIFGS 2023: Restorative Garden by Carrie Chen and Reece Dellora

Describe your garden in 5 words

Carrie (C): Peaceful, relaxing, healing, private and safe.

Reece (R): Tranquil, balanced, verdant, delicate and soothing.

Which plant was the hero of your garden and why?

C: Betula pendula ‘Moss White’.
With their striking white bark and fluttering leaves, the Moss White Silver Birch trees created a soft, elegant atmosphere. The canopy also formed a cool and moist micro-climate for the plants and space underneath. Their delicate leaves tremble and rustle in the cool autumn breeze, created a soothing sound that many found relaxing. And the beautiful pattern of the shadow added depth and texture to the white walls and the ground.

R: I actually really loved the play of textures and hues of green that ran through the garden, but I suppose if I had to pick the highlight, it would be the Anemone (Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’). The Anemone accentuated the tones from the sandstone, the textured wall and the Birches while gently swaying above the swathes of green showing off their magical whimsy.

What was an obstacle you had to overcome and how did you do it?

C: Working as a team was difficult to start with, especially since we were paired up without knowing each other. With differing opinions on some issues, we found ourselves in a dilemma. On one hand, compromising our individual ideas to reach a middle ground would have meant losing the brilliance of our unique ideas. On the other hand, fighting over every single detail of the design would have made our work very hard to move forward. So, we decided to change our working method by going through some agreements on our design concepts and principles. We then divided the design tasks into two parts to work on. Each of us made the initial decision and then discussed during the meeting. Since then, we have had a very smooth and constructive process, which I believe has built trust between us.

R: I had never collaborated creatively with someone before. I learnt a lot about sharing visual ideas verbally, compromise and my own design and communication style. Working with someone else’s vision held its challenges but we definitely found our way through it to achieve our shared goals. 

 What piece of feedback will you always remember?

C: Once the Japanese wind flowers establish, some varieties can spread very fast and become a problem for home owners.

R: That flexibility is key to being a good designer. Even if that means changing elements, elements you thought crucial to the design and even when you believe everything is locked in. Taking the time to consider and reconsider all possibilities and adapting where necessary can make all the difference. 

The stage is yours, what do you want to say?

C: Designing and building an achievable garden in MIFGS was a valuable experience. For me, it was a process of rapid learning in planting design, efficient teamwork, clear communication with sponsors, problem-solving in construction, time management, and more. The journey was full of challenges, but with small successes, we managed to complete our show garden. The result was rewarding!

R: I am changing careers and coming from an entirely different industry. I am so excited to be entering into such a nurturing and community based industry, one that contributes to making our planet greener and brings people to nature through smart and engaging design.

Photos supplied by Carrie Chen

Carrie Chen Design Notes Instagram Here

Dellora Designs Instagram Here

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