Jimmy TurnerSydney garden show’s Welcome Garden

Every plant and garden tells a story – the concept for this garden is to share the passion and love of plants and place that the Royal Botanic Garden and Centennial Park teams have for our iconic sites. As horticulturists we want to share how we see our gardens. On the surface everyone enjoys a garden as a beautiful, peaceful place for repast, but on a walk with one of us you will hear the stories of history, science, wonder and magic that each plant and display tells.

Every plant and garden tells a story, you only need to listen and learn and you will love them as we do. We have divided our garden into four displays each telling a different story about our Parklands and Botanic Gardens.

Sydney Botanic Gardens Welcome Garden plan for AGSS 2014

20140827172401016_0003A Garden for Sydney – From Skyline to Seawall
This area of our design celebrates the culture and tradition of the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney and its historic Woggan-ma-gule (Farm Cove) setting. A backdrop of several striking plant towers will conjure images of the modern bustling city skyline from which the Botanic Garden provides a quiet green haven. These are surrounded by a plethora of many interesting plants with countless stories to share.

The other end of the garden is bordered by a representative of our Farm Cove sea wall, which dates back to the 1880s. Surrounding this is a sea of water coloured plants crowned with a whale sculpture of carved sandstone recognizing the art and culture of the Cadigal, whose ancestors were the original occupants of our land.

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Concept Mt Tomah 3photo 12The Bower – Sanctuary and Serenity of the Blue Mountains
A whimsical approach to the iconic Blue Mountains, this garden is our interpretation of Mount Tomah’s satin bower bird’s amazingly constructed nests adorned with blue jewels. Like the bower bird, the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden collects “jewels”, its plants which are nourished by rich soils derived from the iconic hexagonal basalt prisms which you also see placed about the area.

The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden has a strong dedication to sustainability and recycling. Our bower is a prime example of this as it is constructed from willow, other environmental weeds and recycled apple prunings from local orchards. This ephemeral structure when finished will be composted and put back into the soil at Mount Tomah.

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OUT of the Box –Conservation and Contemporary go Hand-in-Hand
This design is an abstract representation of the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan’s landscape in a contemporary context. Elements used in this construction were materials acquired from left over building products from several of the gardens new developments.

The structural form evokes the rolling hills of golden kangaroo grass, contrasting strongly with the very popular annual paper daisy displays currently in flower at the Australian Botanic Garden. Mirrored panels reflecting the sky provide a link to the Australian PlantBank architecture and symbolise the many lakes on the site. The blue tree replicates one of the key sculptural components in the landscape and in this case the tree is an African Olive, a major focus of our weed control program.

20140827172401016_0001Inner City Living – Contained Oasis

Centennial Parklands provides a much needed and beloved green oasis in the midst of an intensely built area. A multitude of brightly coloured glazed pots symbolise the eclectic and dense environment surrounding our Parklands.

As the demand for housing grows, the need to build upwards and use space efficiently has caused a cultural shift in gardening from traditional backyard plantings towards smaller intensely potted ones on balconies and patios. We hope to tell the story that in even in the smallest of space you can always have a touch of the peace and serenity of the Parklands to enjoy at home.

These four displays will be tied together by a central water feature lined with an allée of noble Wollemi pines. Tall hexagonal basalt columns crowned with cascading colourful flowers will punctuate the water feature for an eye catching entrance to the Australian Garden Show Sydney.

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Jimmy Turner

About Jimmy Turner

Jimmy Turner is a self-proclaimed obsessive plant geek, garden writer, lover of all things horticultural. A native of Texas, but recently appointed Director of Horticulture Operations for the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, the Australian Botanic Garden and Centennial Parklands after a decade as Senior Director of Gardens at the Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden in Dallas, TX. Currently working on the new Encyclopaedia of Annuals for Timber Press and way too many other projects than time will allow. http://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/

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