In April 2021 I left my corporate career where I had spent over 15 years in financial services.
I have always loved art and design. Outside of my corporate job, I had always enjoyed creative interests such as drawing, painting and photography. I also liked all things design and construction (including renovation and property development) and of course, plants.
During 2020 with all of the lockdowns, I was trying to work full-time and homeschool my son in his first year of school. It was difficult for him to understand why I was in endless Zoom meetings and not being able to give him more attention.
I started to think about changing careers and working in an industry and job that I would be more passionate about. My husband encouraged me to do this and said that the corporate world would always be there if I ever wanted to go back.
I decided that garden design was a great intersection of my passions and took a leap of faith to essentially begin again in a new industry. I started studying at London College of Garden Design (LCGD) – our classroom being in the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.
Late last year LCGD ran a design competition for a place in the Emergent Gardens at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. Early this year I found out that my garden was going to be built at MIFGS and I started contacting businesses and suppliers to collaborate on it. I’m thankful for the generosity of my sponsors, and their willingness to work with me although hadn’t met me before. It is a great reflection of the industry.
The theme for the NGIV Emergent Gardens was pollinators and pollination.
My garden ‘Moving Forces’ looked at the necessary relationship between stationary forces (such as plants) and moving forces (the pollinators) for pollination to occur. Vertical poles framed different views as you moved around the garden and provided changing shadows.
Soft planting moved through the paving, including a bright curved path of Alternanthera dentata from one side of the garden to the other. A beautiful Brachychiton, along with shrubs, perennials and grasses with different textures and foliage surrounded the space. I used a relatively limited colour palette and colours were combined and placed to create movement in the space. (There were some last-minute changes and substitution to the plant selection due to availability!)
Designing and displaying a garden at MIFGS provided an amazing experience to work with growers, materials and product suppliers, construction companies and other designers. It was great to start building relationships within the industry and also to talk to the visitors about design, plants and bringing some ideas back to their own outdoor spaces.
Say hello at https://www.instagram.com/chinliew.studio/
‘Moving Forces’ – Sponsors
All Green Nursery & Garden FormBoss
Faceys Nursery Malvern Irrigation
True Blue Nursery Gardens at Night
Speciality Trees Dwell Furniture
Stone & Slate Discounts Water Features Direct
OUTDECO Garden Screens Quantum Timber Finishes