Far, far away… people are awaiting with anticipation the official opening of the Chelsea Flower Show – 18th of May. This year marks the hundredth consecutive year in which gardeners from the four corners of the world flood London, eager to impress audience, judges and even the Queen with their mesmerizing displays.
Australia’s Team at the Chelsea Flower Show
For over a decade, Australia has been a frequent participant in the show. What very few people know is that for the past eight of them one man has been the driving power, the talent responsible for the amazing displays. Well known for his family business, Wes Fleming – owner of the famous Flemings Nurseries in Australia, has won four Gold and four Silver Glit awards over the years at the Chelsea Flower Show. Sadly, the “Best in Show” has managed to elude him for all that time. Nevertheless, no one will dispute his great experience – there are very few English designers who can say they have participated that many times in the Garden Show.
“It’s the end of an era” wrote News.com.au recently, announcing that this will be Fleming’s last appearance in the renowned garden display. The designer has promised his family this is his final year at the Chelsea Garden Show. Still, he plans to end it with the biggest, most daring display the Australian Team has ever designed.
Phillip Johnson is the designer of the Australian landscape who was chosen along with Fleming to lead the Aussie team into the 2013 Chelsea Flower Show. 18 unpaid volunteers (all of them renowned Australian garden experts) have been working on the project for months, making sure that it will become one of the must-see displays during the show.
The Australian Landscape at the Chelsea Flower Show 2013
The total cost of the installation is estimated at $2 million, only partially funded by donations and The ambitious project will include typical elements of the Australian nature. The Billabong (storm pool), waterfalls and gorge are the focal points of the landscape along with the Studio, positioned at the edge of the gorge (the latest picture of the garden -above, a schema – bellow). The one-of-a-kind Studio is equipped with solar panels, powerful enough to sustain the entire display.
Even the Queen has requested the Australian Trailfinders Garden to be included in her itinerary for the Chelsea Flower Show.
With the expo well on its way, many have already picked their favourites. It comes as no surprise that the totally sustainable Australian garden design provokes controversial feelings in most traditionalists. In an interview prior to his departure, Fleming promised that he will keep the garden as natural-looking as possible – no brown leaves will be cut away “because that is part of the cycle of life in nature”. Many compare the remarkable design to the Land of Oz.
We keep our fingers crossed that this year our team will come back with the well-deserved “Best in Show” price. Meanwhile, if you are interested to check out our competition, you can look at the preview of the gardens where Buny Giunness depicts the leaders in the Chelsea Flower Garden.