MIFGS 2024: Light and the Dissolve by Zoe Hibberson

Zoe won Silver with her design

Describe your garden in 5 words

Coastal, Bayside Melbourne, Feminine, Romantic, Sustainable.


Which plant was the hero of your garden and why?

Probably the ti-tree.  Utilised Leptospermum obovatum ‘Starry Night’ and Leptospermum laevigatum in super dense plantings.  The rich burgundy foliage colourings of the ‘Starry Night’ generated lots of surprise and conversations.

All the plants were chosen to suit the coastal Melbourne/Bayside theme.

The non-plant hero of my design was the insect hotel/art/mural pieces that I made up on a whim to fill the blank wall.  Photographed and talked about endlessly!

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

The space is just 5m x 4 m (external measurements) so internally it is a bit smaller – this is a very challenging size and required lots of planning to make it look larger and use space effectively.

The other huge obstacle was logistics.  Actually transporting everything into the city, setting up and then shipping it out at the conclusion.  There’s a whole lot of effort required to make something look effortless!  Queueing, lots of queueing!

What piece of feedback will you always remember?

From the public: That it was a calm and relaxed garden.  Many said that it reminded them of childhood beach adventures or that they wanted to climb in there and snooze on the cane lounge!

From the judges:  Top choice of indigenous/coastal plants.  Awarded the Silver Medal in the Achievable Gardens.


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

The question I get asked most often is ‘Would I do it again?’.  At this very moment, maybe not.  It was incredibly time consuming and physically hard (as I did all the construction myself).  Juggling this with my Landscape Design studies and my business (and general life as solo parent of 3) was more than a little challenging!  But like childbirth, the pain fades and I’m sure I’ll be back in the coming years in a different category!

It was an awesome opportunity to show a garden that reflects me.  I do spend a lot of time creating gardens for Clients, to suit their tastes, so to have total creative control was wonderful.  I hope that it also inspired fellow gardeners to be creative, repurpose items and not be afraid to reveal a bit of themselves through their gardens.


Photo credits: ZHibberson/ GardensofOmagh

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