#EssenceOfAus ready for Showtime!

You can tweet your enthusiasm for our Hampton Court Palace Flower Show garden from anywhere on our planet using hashtag #EssenceOfAus, causing a ripple of pride in this small pond, in the Essence of Australia garden, in Hampton Court Palace, in London, UK, Earth, Universe etc.

After more than two weeks of carpentry, landscaping and planting, this patch of dirt (three weeks ago)...

...is nearly ready for the judges. This is what it looked like on Sunday, just after we finished adding the red stone and sand (carefully, like the reverse of an archaeological site dig).

For more pictures of the garden see the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne website, Facebook page or twitter feed (@RBG_Melbourne or @TimEntwisle). Or if we win a prize, hopefully you'll see it featured in a visual media outlet near you.

As this post goes to air, the awards will just have been announced (Monday afternoon London time, very early Tuesday morning Melbourne time). I'm either celebrating or downplaying the importance of awards with our (no matter what the verdict) prize-winning team. The decision was based on how well the garden 'meets the brief' so while you check social or other media for the decision, here is the intent.

The design was inspired by the Rainbow Serpent – an iconic creature from Aboriginal culture often seen in art and of continuing relevance today – with a nod to the Australian Garden at Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne. (The Rainbow Serpent features in Aboriginal dreamtime stories and is credited with forming the mountains, ridges and gorges as it emerged from beneath the ground.)

Towards the rear of the garden is a shelter that, as Jim Fogarty puts it, reflects "the simple, clean and stylish lines symbolic of contemporary Melbourne". The structure also references inland rock formations of the Northern Territory such as Uluru and the MacDonnell Ranges. The charcoal timber blades symbolise the water that cascades off these rock features when it rains, providing nourishment for Australia’s flora and fauna.

As visitors to the garden follow the Rainbow Serpent deck, they are asked to reflect on the natural attractions and landscapes of Australia, including rock seams and outcrops, where, again as Jim puts it "the endless roads delve deeper into rich aboriginal culture, red sands, and an amazing array of Australian plants". The deck includes a ford crossing, commonly found on outback roads that flood in the wet season.

It was also our intent to demonstrate, again, the beauty of the Australian flora and to use plants that are not hard to source in the UK. Some are hardy and should be grown more widely over here (the gum trees, westringia, and some of the grevilleas and bottle brushes), others would need some mollycoddling in winter (kangaroo paws, emu bushes), and a few will always be annuals (paper daisies, brachyscome). You can find out more about a few of them in my previous four posts.

Almost all the construction materials can be recycled, or reused, and all were sourced in the UK or nearby (the plants are from Spain and will be donated to Kew Gardens at the end of the show).

And in case you were wondering, this is the team that brought the Essence of Australia to Hampton Court Palace Flower Show:
Design - Jim Fogarty
Hard landscape: Landform
Plants: Hortus Loci
Planting - Chris Russell (Director, Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne), John Arnott (Manager, Horticulture, Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne), Russell Gibb (Coordinator, Horticulture; Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne), Kajsa Bjorne, Tom Harfleet, Peter Wilkins and Jane Wilkins
Rippling billabong: Tom Harfleet with help from Lincoln University
Fundraising and promotion - Ken Harrison (Chairman, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria Board)
Scribe and other things - Tim Entwisle.
Plus a 'ground team' in Melbourne led by Susannah Jepson (Coordinator, Marketing (Events) at Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne) under the guidance of Acting Director and CEO Jenny Steinicke, with Katie O'Brien and Robyn Merrett chasing up media. The whole caboodle was sponsored by Tourism Victoria, NT Tourism, Qantas, Trailfinders and us, the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.


The Hampton Court Palace Flower Show starts today (Tuesday 8 July).


Bort said…
Congratulations are in order I believe!
Dave Bright said…
‘Best in Show’ - well done everybody.