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Australian inspiration

Last week I attended the Australian Landscape Conference; what an amazing opportunity to connect with other designers and avid gardeners. As always, I left the conference feeling inspired and brimming with fresh ideas.

The conference started off with a coastal garden tour out to Mornington Peninsula (there was also an option to do a city gardens tour that day). We were treated to some fabulous gardens by the very talented Kate Seddon, Myles Broad, Sam Cox and Fiona Brockhoff. Then, after two days of inspiring, and often mind-blowing conference presentations, we got to attend a planting masterclass at Antique Perennials nursery with Fergus Garrett, Sean Hogan of Cistus Nursery and Simon Rickard. Simon was filling in for Midori Shintani, who unfortunately came down with Covid. Despite being put on the spot first thing in the morning, Simon gave everyone a great rundown of one of Dan Pearson's planting designs at Tokashi Millennium Forest. I was extremely jealous of all the Australians who got to buy plants from the nursery for their garden, Antique Perennials has an outstanding selection of beautiful plants.

Here are some of my favourite garden views from the garden tour.

We started the tour at Kate Seddon's garden. The garden was formed out of curved garden beds and retaining walls, with these shapes replicated in the swimming pool. Sedum 'Autumn Joy' was an absolute standout at this time of year. FYI the raised beds in the vegetable garden were tannery vats.

Next on the tour was Simon Cox's Wildcoast garden. This garden was dominated by the house architecture, with very natural planting that was true to the surrounding dune land and hidden pockets in the garden for swimming, camping etc. The planting did not have much in the way of varied texture or form but it very much suited the landscape and did not detract from the imposing house architecture.

Myles Broad's Portsea garden was filled with spires of beautiful Plecanthrus and featured a simple metal pool fence that allowed the space to feel very open and part of the rest of the garden, rather than closed off. The best part of this garden was the dappled shade from the mature trees next to the house. Everyone on the tour sat down in the space and chatted, you could tell they felt really comfortable - a sign of a good design! I loved the climbers draping off the verandah to connect the house to the surrounding planting.

Finally, we got to see two of Fiona Brockhoff's Somerset gardens, which were conveniently next door to each other. Both featured amazing sea views and architectural Mediterranean planting. These gardens were a really beautiful place to spend in the late afternoon before we had to head back to Melbourne.

If you are interested in gardens I can't recommend this conference enough. Thanks to Outlandish Tours and everyone else who made this such a special event.




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