The inaugural event was located at Melbourne Showgrounds, 9-11 October 2015, and focused on Growing, Gardening and Cooking. We had everything from rare plant growers and specialist plant nurseries to gardening tools and products.

And with an array of experts to share their knowledge, it was a rare opportunity to have so many key industry figures at one event. ABC Organic Gardener’s Peter Cundall, formally opened the festival, provided a crop-rotation demonstration and more.

Advice was on hand from Angus Stewart, Stephen Ryan, Prof. Tim Entwisle, Attila Kapitany, Simon Rickard, Costa and others, about plants, gardens, and design.

With more people getting interested in where their food comes from, Louise FitzRoy ‘From Paddock to Plate‘ demonstrated on stage with various local growers, how to grow and cook. There was the opportunity to learn about gardening and cooking too from indigenous chef Mark Olive, and Masterchef winner Emma Dean.

Our Display Gardens featured unique landscape designs and provided ideas and resources. Combining support from the companies who grow plants, sell pavers, lighting, landscape materials and more, this was a must-see part of the event. The gardens were judged, and our panel was headed by the award-winning Ian Barker.

As there was great support from industry organisations including Landscaping Victoria, Australian Institute of Landscape & Design Managers and Australian Institute of Horticulture – visitors got professional services to tap into, and get questions answered.

Visit, buy, learn

With a range of stalls selling plants and gardening equipment, there were opportunities to buy new release, rare and hard-to-find plants – and get good advice to help your garden grow. There was the opportunity to visit exhibitor stands and find out more, or sit and interact with our on-stage panels who answered questions, entertained with stories, gardening anecdotes and practical ideas.

Featured Landscape Designer GOLD AWARD WINNER! – Carolyn Priest

If a collaborative approach to design is what you are after your needs will be well met by Carolyn’s personable nature. She feels it is a responsibility to design low impact solutions using existing site features and where possible, recycled materials. Using a professional designer such as Carolyn will allow you to implement garden solutions you’d never dreamed as having as your reality.

“My approach is artistic, intuitive and practical. I provide options to realise my client’s needs. I love to work with garden owners to create their ideal garden.”

Carolyn offers garden design and gardening services, as well as environmental and community programs to primary school OSHC facilities that meet the OSHC guidelines. Her weekly sessions are creative, stimulating and fun and have been very well received. Many schools find that they have the resources for craft and sports activities but lack the knowledge to undertake effective horticulture and garden based activities. Carolyn is trained in horticulture and is able to deliver programs at an appropriate pace and level for the children.