Jenny WadeALC workshops: for garden lovers, by brilliant designers

“I’m just a garden lover but I just love the conference and have been to nearly all of them.
 I just don’t understand why so many people don’t realise how profoundly fascinating and absorbing they are. They also cover the main principles of garden design which are so important…” – Susie Hamson, Melbourne.

Bell pond – Ivanhoe garden by Robert Boyle, a feature of the ALC 2015 Garden Tour

Bell pond – Ivanhoe garden by Robert Boyle, a feature of the ALC 2015 Garden Tour

The remarkable thing about gardens is that they attract people from all walks of life. People who come to our Australian Landscape Conferences are always astonished to find so many kindred souls – I know that no one who comes on their own will be lonely! There are so many enthusiastic and welcoming people to chat with and it’s such a friendly place to be. Gardeners are simply the best people!

The ten presentations from our inspiring and provocative international speakers plus two from outstanding Australians provide the heart and soul of our conference.

We’ll be hard pressed to contain our creativity as we’re transported by artistic Frenchman, Xavier Perrot to

“far away places for dreaming, whimsical gardens ….and alternative worlds.”

Or to the timeless Mediterranean landscapes sensitively conserved and enhanced by Thomas Doxiadis, (Athens) and James Basson, (Provence), – 2015 Chelsea Gold Medallist. We’ll be inspired by wonderful images and insights by some of the world’s most beautifully designed gardens.

Design James Basson. Photo  www.clivenichols.com

Mediterranean garden by James Basson for private client. The master plantsman will present two practical workshop topics. Photo www.clivenichols.com

Thankfully, there is a way to channel newfound inspiration and enthusiasm into practical potential! The workshops, on Monday 21 and Tuesday 22 September 2015 at Burnley Campus, University of Melbourne provide a very special opportunity indeed. World leaders in landscape design and horticulture are not often at our disposal, especially in an intimate workshop environment. For just $75 per session, students have the privilege of meeting these esteemed experts in person and picking their brains on a wide range of horticultural disciplines. Small class sizes designed to be interactive are perfect to nut out details, get into the nitty-gritty and resolve specific queries on personal garden design projects.

James Basson Scape Design

James Basson Scape Design

James Basson’s two plant focused workshops – Creative Design Solutions – Thinking Outside the Box and Challenging Spaces – Dynamic Solutions will strike a chord with those keen to reach beyond formulaic design. In his first workshop James will share ways to integrate a story or a personal memory into spaces. He’ll explain the art of harmonising the garden with its surrounds and maximising the benefits of using existing soil, hard materials etc. In his second workshop James promises to tackle difficult sites head on – by looking at solutions inspired by the natural landscape to transform them from trouble to triumph!

 I was extremely fortunate to visit ‘Superkilen’, Copenhagen in early July, an award winning urban renewal project designed by Martin Rein-Cano – so much going on and such fun for everyone!

I was extremely fortunate to visit ‘Superkilen’, Copenhagen in early July, an award winning urban renewal project designed by Martin Rein-Cano – so much going on and such fun for everyone!

For those with an interest in community outdoor spaces, a unique workshop with the brilliant Berlin landscaper, Martin Rein-Cano, will have us all dreaming of (and designing!) stunning streetscapes that are not merely infrastructure but are connective tissue in our urban environs, bringing with them a range of public space opportunities. Martin’s workshop Streets as Public Spaces: including the significance of trees and planting concepts is a must for urban planners or those passionate about the future of our cities.

Diana Weisner’s vision for an interactive community garden for Bogota, Colombia

Diana Weisner’s vision for an interactive community garden for Bogota, Colombia

Outstanding South American designer, Diana Wiesner, will also share her philosophies on Greening our Cities. With a career dedicated to enhancing the landscapes, conservation and cultural values in her native Colombia, she has much to teach us about sustainable practices and design models that breathe life, hope, and tolerance into communities everywhere.

A suite of talented Australians will complement the international presenters with their workshops. Who hasn’t salivated in their gardening journey over a stunning climber clad structure from the Eckersley Garden Architecture stables? I know I have! So what better way to get over your garden envy than to enrol in the workshop by E-GA’s Scott Leung and Myles Broad on Draping Architecture with Greenery. Here’s your chance to learn from the masters just how to create those inviting, luxurious sanctuaries in our increasingly urbanised settings.

Learn the secrets of creating this sumptuous Eckersley Garden Architecture designed outdoor retreat with a workshop by Scott Leung (left) & Myles Broad from E-GA

Amander Flaherty from Light on Landscape has been a shining light in bringing gardens to life after dark for over 20 years. Her “Garden Illumination” workshop will provide light bulb moments for mastering depth of view, control of intensity as well as practical aspects such as longevity of fittings.

Perennial favourites of the gardening world, Gwen and Rodger Elliot, are on hand to strengthen skills in garden ecology. Their workshop Habitat Gardens with Australian Plants is an essential education on combining Ecology, Zoology and Horticulturology (if there is such a word!) If you’re passionate about nature and the future of the planet, this workshop will definitely deliver a lesson worth learning.

Gwen & Rodger Elliot

Gwen and Rodger Elliot’s workshop “Habitat Gardens with Australian Plants” combines both ecology and horticulture.

Water features in gardens have long been considered an essential element of landscape design. Robert Boyle’s workshop Water in the Landscape offers advice on all aspects of water in the garden, from the practicalities of harvesting and retention to its range of decorative and functional uses. With almost half a century of designing gardens to guide him, Robert will teach us how to use water in all its forms to achieve a variety of outcomes.

Tim Sansom, The Diggers Club, will present a workshop on heirloom varieties for the garden

Tim Sansom, The Diggers Club, will present a workshop on heirloom varieties for the garden

And the list goes on – Tim Sansom, gardening guru at Diggers, will explain the virtues of using local, open-pollinated vegetable and ornamental varieties in our gardens for immense rewards – from both a personal and the planet’s perspective. Tim’s workshop What’s Old is New focusing on heirloom vegetables, annual flowers and perennials for Australian gardens will be a valuable resource for the sustainable gardener. And we all agree vertical gardens look gorgeous and are environmentally sensible, BUT…. those who have been challenged by their cultivation will find Fytogreen specialist, Erik van Zuilekom, a saviour. His workshop Vertical Garden Design – Practical Considerations for Ecological Planting on the Vertical will give strategies for ensuring these items of beauty are long lived and healthy additions to the gardener’s palette.

Vertical gardening – Erik Van Zuilekom will explain the practicalities of sustainable vertical landscapes

Vertical gardening – Erik Van Zuilekom will explain the practicalities of sustainable vertical landscapes

So by all means – be transported to whimsical worlds and far off places at this year’s Australian Landscape Conference. But make sure you rapidly fall back to earth, spade in hand, and treat yourself to one or more of the fabulous workshops on Monday and Tuesday 21 and 22 September. And even if you can’t make the conference, you are still eligible to book for the workshops as they are open to everyone. So spread the word and make the most of this rare opportunity before classes book out!

[This post is brought to you by the Australian Landscape Conference. Workshop and conference program, venue information, presenter profiles and topic summaries are available at Australian Landscape Conference workshops. Queries: Contact Jenny Wade E: jennywade@bigpond.com or Mob. 0409 000 089]

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