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Garden Design

Australian Landscape Conference 2018

Warwick Forge

Warwick Forge

November 1, 2017

Next year’s Landscape Conference provides unparalleled insights into global trends in landscape design, urban development, renewal and horticultural practices. This Conference always brings together the best international and local presenters.

Bernard Trainor design

The Conference theme shines light on the tangible and intangible benefits of communing with Nature, in contrast to the 2015 conference of ideas. We have invited the diverse panel of leading landscape designers to respond to the conundrum of an increasingly urbanised lifestyle and the inherent human needs of being nurtured by nature.

With varied global practices and cultural influences, speakers will present their individual approaches to reconnecting people and place through meaningful public and private landscape design.


Speakers include Kathryn Gustafson, the much acclaimed ‘Grande Dame of landscape architecture’, with projects spread between USA, Europe and the Far East. She loves the vibrant energy of Singapore and the region that responds so well to her sculptural, form-making style. Projects such as the Lurie Garden, Chicago, Princess Diana Memorial Fountain, Hyde Park and Zaryadye Park in central Moscow reveal her versatility and exceptional ability to create evocative, memorable and unique landscapes.


Dry mixed steppe planting at ABB by Cassian Schmidt

Professor Cassian Schmidt from Hermannshof, Germany, with its various trial gardens, has developed a range of seed mixes for designed plant communities. He is rated by Noel Kingsbury (UK), also attending, as:

“Truly the German Master who leads the European Movement for his work on perennial plantings…”.

Both are world authorities on the perennial style schemes pioneered by Piet Oudolf and the Dutch Wave Movement.

While these landscapes are increasingly popular in both private and urban environments, some scepticism remains as to their suitability to Australian conditions.  Although ‘woody perennial’ plantings and ‘wild flower meadows’ are being trialled in Melbourne, given our mild winters and expectations of year round gardens, is the Dutch Wave model with its winter dormancy acceptable down under? With much anticipation we look forward to Cassian and Noel’s insights.


Andy Sturgeon (who has now twice won ‘Best in Show’ at The Chelsea Flower Show) visits Australia to share his winning design style featuring traditional, natural materials with timeless, architectural qualities. Andy consults from his UK practice as well as from a shared office in Singapore with Australian designer, Jim Fogarty. His impressive international design skills will resonate here with our opportunities for a multicultural approach to landscape design.


Bernard Trainor residential design

The brilliant Bernard Trainor (originally from the sandy shores of the Mornington Peninsula, now residing in California) returns due to public demand. He will again wow the audience with his supremely elegant and restrained gardens and architecture that, more and more, pay homage to both the man-made and borrowed natural landscapes. With his current Californian canvas, it is hard to imagine a more relevant designer for our dry climate gardens, given his intuitive response to design through a distinctly Australian-inspired lens.


Miguel Irquijo residential design

Talented Spanish designer Miguel Urquijo works in Spain’s central plateau with its miserly rainfall, summer heat and freezing winters. The secret he says, is to:

“… replicate the forms, shapes, mood and manners of nature”.

He does this using a palette of tried and true drought and frost tolerant species, and in so doing manages to connect the built environment harmoniously with the natural one. With Bernard Trainor, we will see how their practices in Mediterranean regions provide lessons for our dry continent.


Monash University Caulfield Campus by Taylor Cullity Lethlean

There are twelve presentations by international speakers who are joined by Dr Kate Cullity of acclaimed Taylor Cullity Lethlean, now recognised by many as Australia’s leading interpreter of the nation’s landscapes.

Also speaking is Sam Cox, who locally in Victoria has assumed the mantle of designing with nature which he learned originally from Gordon Ford, Ellis Stones and Edna Walling. Sam is now developing some of the finest naturalistic gardens and communities to be seen and they will be a huge encouragement to sustainability devotees and nature lovers everywhere.

Sam Cox residential design



The expanded conference workshop program is another highlight with 21 practical workshops by international and local presenters covering design and related disciplines. Open to both delegates and non-delegates, the workshops are a unique window into the heart and minds of our most talented designers and horticultural professionals.

With small groups and interactive formats, students have an enviable opportunity for personal connections with presenters to gain meaningful, practical information for future design and gardening endeavours. In addition to our conference speakers, other workshop presenters include:

•  the much loved world green roof expert (and previous ALC speaker) Ed Snodgrass;

•  Bettina Jaugstetter from Germany who brings unsurpassed knowledge of perennial planting formulas;

•  perennial Australian favourites Andrew Laidlaw, Angus Stewart and Arno King;

•  inspirational photographer Claire Takacs;

•  award winning landscape artist Mel Ogden; and

•  Anna Turner, who completes the diverse line up with her invaluable expertise in landscape estimating and budgets suitable for professionals and home gardeners alike.

CLICK HERE for the full workshop program held at Burnley Campus, University of Melbourne on Monday, 26 March and Tuesday, 27 March 2018.

Small group and interactive format workshops with presenters



An exciting pre-conference garden tour to the Central Goldfields features five beautiful country gardens, including designs by Michael McCoy (ABC TV Dream Gardens presenter), Phillip Johnson, Simon Rickard and KML Design. The tour books out well in advance (open to conference delegates only) so be sure to register early to secure a place.

Michael McCoy designed garden on the pre-conference garden tour



With this new Autumn conference, visitors also have the chance to combine a visit to the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show (21-25 March 2018), being the largest such event in the Southern Hemisphere. With the obvious economies of one timeframe and locale for both international events, gardeners will indeed be treated to an unmissable week of pure gardening indulgence!

Finally, a very special Saturday evening Speakers’ Dinner will take place in the Great Hall at the Royal Exhibition Building amid the floral displays of the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show. An exclusive private tour of the designer Show Garden Avenue, lead by the knowledgeable staff of Warners Nursery, is included as a pre-dinner highlight. Numbers are limited so early bookings are also recommended for this relaxed evening of entertainment and networking opportunities.


The Australian Landscape Conference is a mainstay on the horticultural calendar thanks to its reputation for outstanding, high quality speakers and associated events. Be sure to join over 650 delegates from across Australia and New Zealand to make the most of this wonderful opportunity to experience the world’s best in landscape design and gardens.

23-27 March 2018
Design with Nature: Reconnecting People and Place
Melbourne Convention Centre, 1 Convention Centre Place
South Wharf, Melbourne, Victoria
**Register before 30 November 2017 for early bird discount**

CLICK HERE for the full conference program, to download a brochure or register for the conference and add-on events. (Garden Tour 23 Nov; Conference 24-25 Nov; Workshops 26-27 Nov)

CLICK HERE FOR EARLY BIRD BOOKING: Early Bird registration (10% discount) ends 30 November 2017.


[This post is brought to you by the Australian Landscape Conference. Queries: Contact Jenny Wade E: jennywade@bigpond.com]


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Anne Latreille
5 years ago

Sounds REALLY great!