This autumn, the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show, the Southern Hemisphere's largest horticultural festival, celebrates 25 years on the Victorian major events calendar. Kicking off Wednesday 25 March, the silver anniversary is an occasion not to be missed, with more striking floral and garden features than ever before, and an incredible lineup of some of the greatest landscape and floral designers in Australia and abroad.
Across five-days, 100,000 visitors are expected to join in the festivities with more than 900 floral, landscape and garden exhibitors transforming the grounds of Carlton Gardens and the interior of the iconic Royal Exhibition Building.
In an exciting first, the crowd-favourite Show Gardens will be designed by an outstanding collective of Australia's most awarded landscape designers, who have each previously won the coveted 'Award of Excellence for Best in Show.' Representing the unbridled unique vision of each designer, the Show Garden precinct will exhibit a calibre of skill and creativity like never before. The award-winning designers returning in 2020 include: Phillip Withers, MINT Pool + Landscape Design, Dean Herald - Rolling Stone Landscapes, Vivid Design, Mark Browning Landscape Design, Warners Nurseries in collaboration with Robert Boyle, Koji Ninomiya (Japan), and Steve Day for Tree & Shrub Growers VIC.
Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show Event Director, Marcus Gale, explained that the silver anniversary of the Show will feature the most accomplished and award-winning landscape and floral talent in event history.
"After 25 years the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show continues to attract the best floral and landscape design talent, locally and internationally, to create truly exceptional Show Gardens and Floral Feature displays. This year's event will be unparalleled in terms of its scale and imagination. If ever there's a year to come, this is it," said Gale.
"To give a sense of scale, there will be an increase in the number of Garden displays by more than 40% which amounts to an additional 1,000sqm of various garden displays for the public to enjoy. From our new balcony and small space gardens, to boutique and achievable style gardens, right up to the jaw-dropping Show Gardens designed by our top, award-winning designers. In this special year, there's something for everyone."
Beyond the exceptional Show Gardens there is an abundance of new and returning precincts and features, including a sprawling Welcome Garden designed by Jason Hodges in association with Lawn Solutions Australia.
To reflect the changing nature of the Australian backyard, this year's Show will welcome the Ryman Healthcare Balcony Garden Competition, designed to inspire urban dwellers with limited square meters and a passion for gardening. Each installation will showcase a unique garden oasis, demonstrating what can be achieved in the smallest of spaces. Ryman Healthcare ambassador and landscape design expert, Matt Leacy, will be at the Show offering complimentary landscape design consultations to those looking to make the most of their small spaces. The London College of Garden Design Melbourne, alongside landscape designer Brent Reid, will launch their inaugural competition at the Show, which will see six garden designers showcase small garden designs under the theme, "Embrace the City".
Come March, the heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building will be transformed into the Great Hall of Flowers; a floral paradise featuring incredible installations and thousands of freshly cut and styled blooms meticulously placed by teams of floral designers, florists and flower enthusiasts, including a number of Gold Award winning designers from years past.
An extraordinary lineup of past visionary Gold Floral award winners have been invited back to join the 2020 Show celebrations, including: Pinkie Promise, Australian Association of Floral Designers, Matthew Landers, Melbourne Flower School, Paradisia, Holmesglen Institute, Exzibit Design and Melbourne's beloved floral institution, Flowers Vasette.
Flowers Vasette will present a show-stopping installation to celebrate the company's 30th anniversary. The team, alongside Melbourne's celebrity event expert, Chyka Keebaugh, will present a floral installation designed to raise awareness for the communities devastated by the Australian bushfires and raising money for Bloom Aid; a new initiative supporting Landcare Australia.
The gates will open for a night to remember on Friday 27 March, for the highly anticipated Gardens by Twilight. Visitors can enjoy an evening of gourmet food and drinks from several distinguished outlets including pop-up wine bars, beer gardens and Prosecco vans, as they explore everything the Show has to offer in the fading sunlight. triple j Unearthed artist, Harrison Storm, will headline the evening's live entertainment program with a captivating performance under the stars.
The newly revamped Arts & Sculpture Precinct and the Original Art Exhibition will play host to more than 300 artists representing their craft. Visitors can meander through these creative spaces with artist demonstrations and even purchase original pieces to adorn their garden at home.
Charity partner, Beyond Blue, will transform Carlton Gardens into a play-haven for kids of all ages, as they host a range of activities perfect for families at their Charity Garden. Guide Dogs Victoria will engage the senses at their tactile garden, using varied textures to demonstrate how different surfaces can be used to guide people safely through unfamiliar spaces.
Two-time contestant on 'The Block' and interior designer, Jenna Densten, will bring her passion and expertise to this year's Show during an exclusive Q&A and as a judge for the Main Floral Installation's Visual Display competition. Jenna will also guide her students from The Design School as they create two interior design installations at the Show.
The Diggers Club will return to inspire visitors through a must-see garden display of heirloom fruits, vegetables, edibles and summer-flowering perennials. Guests can soak up a wealth of knowledge at the free gardening talks and cooking demonstrations during their daily-changing education program.
Reinforcing the Show's increased commitment to the environment, a new Sustainability Space will play host to sustainability partners Bio Gro and Closed Loop, who will each highlight the importance of recycling, reusing, and being eco-conscious around the home and in the garden. Show-goers will be encouraged to recycle their coffee cups during their visit at the Simply Cups collection point, giving guests the chance to transform their old coffee cups into new, multi-use items.
Showcasing local suppliers, beautiful food, teas, coffee and sparkling wine, the ticketed Holland American High Tea will provide an exclusive experience amongst the blooms for guests looking to bring a touch of luxury to their day.
Brides and grooms-to-be will be enthralled by the designs at this year's Wedding Floral Showcase. Bigger and better than ever, this year's exhibit will give designers the chance to showcase the latest and greatest wedding floral trends with some of the pieces also featuring on the Main Stage during the floralinspired fashion runway show on Saturday 28 March.
Each year, the RMIT Floral Fashion competition sees budding designers blossom into floral couture artists as part of their curriculum. Third-year RMIT Fashion Design students are given a theme to inspire amazing and creative plant-based designs, and explore exhibition as a mode for contemporary fashion enterprise. These creations will be displayed in the Great Hall of Flowers across the five days of the Show. For the DIY enthusiast, the Show will feature over 150 garden retail exhibitors selling the latest products in garden innovation, new and exotic breed plants, as well as a number of immersive workshops to flex green thumbs.
The new Horticulture Careers Hub will host a range of higher education providers and will inspire visitors and prospective students alike to join the thriving horticulture, landscape and design industries, helping them navigate the process easily.
The year's program will feature a range of hands-on Workshops for visitors to book, including crafting kokedamas, creating floral table centerpieces, wearable floral headpieces, necklaces and more. The Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show is an event for the whole family with a range of kid's zones and activities: from face painting, plant potting, creative painting, playgrounds, and more. Adults will be just as busy, with a Fresh Flower Market presented by Flowers Victoria, entertainment stages, street art installations, competitions including a daily Golden Ticket treasure hunt, floral workshops, demonstrations with garden experts, alfresco dining experiences, and much more.
For more information and to purchase tickets visit melbflowershow.com.au
Dates: Wednesday 25 – Sunday 29 March 2020
Times: Open 9am – 5pm daily – Gardens by Twilight – Friday March 27 until 9pm
Venue: Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens, Melbourne