• calendar 17 Apr, 2014

Blooming wonderful

Autumn is flower planting time and I can always rely upon the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show to provide a bubble burst of inspiration. More than just ‘designer’ gardens, this was a garden festival with all the trimmings. So while its now time to plant tulips, daffodils, pansies, poppies and snapdragons in our gardens, here you can see what captured my imagination in the flower department at MIFGS this year.

This brilliant lime and lilac garden caught my eye up in the Victoria’s Tree & Shrub Growers garden, where they used the garden as an opportunity to promote their plants, especially newer varieties. The theme was being happy and healthy at home and in the community by surrounding yourself with a flowering meadow. Beautifully designed by Steve Day, it was filled with frothy lilac mulla mulla, oregano flowers, purple buddleia, emu bush, and lime accents such as Acacia cognata. It sure put a wide smile on my face!

Entering the Great Hall I was hit with the ultimate sensory overload. Budding floral design students and leading florists and floral designers had showcased an amazing array. I was drawn to Gold winners Flowers Vasette of Fitzroy.

The whole display seemed to float in the air atop a digital neon planter made out of perspex.

The orchids were supplied by The Orchid Man, a legend in the flower market, and no he hasn’t developing an amazing new apricot moth orchid: he and the florists created them by dunking the flowers in apricot-coloured dye!

Colour just kept coming with dahlias! Single-flowered dahlias are graceful blenders, integrating well into borders, and offering colour from midsummer until first frost. Look for them under the name ‘Mystic’. These dahlias slightly differ to normal dahlias: they have single blooms, mahogany coloured foliage and don’t require staking.

With names like Dreamer (pictured above), Sparkler, Enchantment and Haze, they give pops of colour during autumn’s down time. They perform best in full sun in rich moisture retentive soil. Deadhead spent flowers to prolong blooming season. They will die down in winter before erupting again the each spring. You’ll find them in full flower in nurseries now.

And finally, after a day in the garden, the crisp evening air gently calls me inside, the memory of these massed red geraniums in front of the Gardeners Library is enough to warm me up.

What flowers are you planting now in your garden this autumn?

Photos: Steve Day, State of Green (floral display), and Philip Shaw (library).

Linda Ross is a tour leader for Ross Garden Tours, the Managing Editor of Garden Clinic Journal, and gives garden advice with The Garden Clinic Club.

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