Linda GreenPerth Garden Week 2012

I’ve been going to Perth Garden Week every year for more years than I care to remember but I always find something new, interesting or inspiring to make my visit worthwhile. This year is no exception with lots of new varieties of natives and perennials for sale but the plants that really caught my attention this year were trees. Fancy finding Boab trees for sale! OK they are only a year old but Flora Plant Nursery has them for sale for $9. I think it is worth buying a couple just to have some fun. Wouldn’t they make great bonsai specimens? Or a gift for a child – with any luck they may see it reach maturity. I’m sure they’d grow in a pot in a warm sheltered position for many years.

With the successful transplanting of the giant Boab from the Kimberly to King’s Park it would be even worth trying them in the garden. Boabs would also make great companions for the fantastic cycads on show at the Ellenby Tree Farm display. Ellenby’s have created a veritable forest including some trees in 1000lt containers. A couple of other trees that caught my attention were the Indian Mast Tree (Polyalthia longifolia ‘Pendula’) and the Pink Pong Pong Tree (Cerbera rubra). I have admired the Mast Trees in India where they are used in all sorts of situations – as hedges, specimen trees and even to line driveways. They are unusual in that they grow very tall but remain narrow and straight. The Pink Pong Pong Tree is closely related to frangipanis so has scented flowers but I like these because of the beautiful reddish foliage.

Speaking of frangipanis, Tony and Sons have some gorgeous, large specimens flowering in delicious shades of cherry, raspberry and watermelon and Flora Plant has the beautiful ‘White Magic’ in full bloom. Our long Indian summer has meant that not only are the frangipanis looking spectacular but the Bambino Bougainvilleas are also putting on a good show.

For lovers of cottage plants and perennials Whistlepipe Gardens has a huge range of salvias and their clematis are beautifully displayed. The Lavender Fields of Bridgetown have a wide range of lavender plants and products for sale and Tulips with a Difference has almost every bulb imaginable and plenty of tulips.

Vegetable growing is the big trend all over the world and it is also a prominent feature this year at Garden Week. Wood’s Cottage Nursery is growing all sorts of fruits and vegetables in Grow Bags – the asparagus was particularly appealing to me as I’ve never had much success with growing them in the ground. The blueberries and habanero chillies were also flourishing. The veges were also thriving in the giant wok bowls in the Clear Pond display. Each bowl is planted with a variety of different veges so it is almost a complete vege garden. Melville Rose Nursery interplanted their gorgeous roses with vegetables to great effect. They, in conjunction with Gardens of Eden, were awarded best show garden.

As a landscape designer I would love to see more display gardens at Garden Week. Designers do team up with exhibitors to display green stock or products but it would be great to see more gardens designed purely to give visitors inspiration for their own gardens. Challenger TAFE students went some way towards this with their 3 display gardens. Lianne Smithson designed a tropical retreat, Zoe Bethel used found items and recycled materials to create a cottage garden and Robyn Cardy and Kathy Moore created a more contemporary garden. Although they are only small they still give visitors some ideas that they can use at home. The Landscape Industry Association display features a pond with an elegant sculpture and great contrasting foliage plants.

The display of newcomer to Garden Week, Eco Outdoor was full of great products and ideas for the home garden while Country Earth, veteran of 18yrs exhibiting at Garden Week, had a wide range of paving stones, beautifully laid, along with decking and a pergola. The Glenmore random paving was particularly appealing.

I love The Outdoor Décor Company’s range of planters as they have some very different styles and designs. It was great to see them at Garden Week again displaying some zany contemporary planters amongst the more traditional ones. I wish I’d picked up a new planter while I was there as I have a spot that needs a bit of a lift – something that can be quickly and easily achieved with a new planter or pot.

The Perth Garden Week is held at Perry Lakes Reserve, Floreat and runs until 23 April so why not go along and see what treasures you can discover.

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Linda Green

About Linda Green

Linda is a landscape designer and horticulturist living in Fremantle, Western Australia. In 1988 she established Hidcote Landscapes and she still finds starting a new garden design a thrilling prospect. She loves visiting inspiring gardens overseas and exploring the bush closer to home. For more information visit www.hidcote.com.au.

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