Jun 2012 - Australian House & Garden

Special - Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show

Show Time Earthy, reclaimed raw materials and fabulous foliage set the tone at the recent Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show (MIFGS). More than 111,000 visitors viewed designer gardens based on recycled and textured timbers, old bricks and rusted steel. Flowers were few and far between, while foliage tones edged from fresh greens to burgundy, cooper and bronze. Join our tour with H&G gardening expert Helen Young

Subtitle: Designer Paal Grant
'Converstaion' garden
Gold medal winner

Subtitle: Talk of the town

Article text:
Inspiration for this garden of flowing curves came from Paal Grant's desire to create a place where people meet and interact face to face a response to our increasing reliance on technology and social media. Three circular areas - a conversation pit, dining area and relaxation spa - offer places to talk, share food and enjoy company. Sweeping arcs of lawn ripple outwards, retained by bold bands of weathered steel. "changes of level create a bit of drama and curves lead the eye," says Paal. "i'm inspired by the spirals of seashells and unfurling fern fronds, those curvilinear shapes that repeat in nature." The planting is lush green on green, with repitions of rounded shapes. "i like to block lots of plants together," says Paal. "it calms everything down, especially if you have lots of other elements in the design."
Paal Grant Designs in Landscaping;
0407 318 992 or www.paalgrant.com.

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Fact file

Aside text:
Paal designed the ethanol-fuelled, stainless-stell Kuru Fire Ball built by Entanglements. Laser-cut steel pillars also by Entanglements. Curved wall panels in Dulux Forest Black. Cushion fabrics from Fab Outdoor Fabrics. Sir Walter buffalo lawn stays green all year.
Key PLants:
Indian hawthorn (Raphiolepis 'Oriental Pearl'), Magnolia grandiflora 'Greenback' and trailing rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis 'Blue Lagoon').

Photo text:
Fire Watch
The flame-shaped leaves of the mother-in-law's tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata 'Laurentii') on and under the pergola relate to the Kuru Fireball (left).
Box of Tricks
Massed balls of English box (buxus sempervirens) reinforce the design's circular theme, while their dark green foliage is restful to the eye.
Pool Of Reflection
The wishing pool collected donations for Suicide Prevention Australia, whose 'Hold on to Life' campaign ties in with Paal's concept of fostering meaningful human contact.