2011 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, The Australian Garden

PUBLISHED: 14:11 14 March 2011 | UPDATED: 10:32 21 February 2013

2011 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, The Australian Garden

2011 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, The Australian Garden

Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne's horticulturists selected for 2011 RHS Chelsea Flower Show...

Royal Botanic Gardens Melbournes horticulturists selected
for 2011 RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne has selected three of its highly experienced horticulturists to lead the planting team for its Show Garden entry to the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London from 24 28 May.

The three team members, Phil Bowyer-Smyth, Sandra Hodge and Warren Worboys, leave Melbourne for London on 10 May and will spend two weeks in the UK, staying in Chelsea and walking to and from the Show Garden site each day.

The team will be kept very busy at the Show Garden, with over 2,000 plants to get in the ground during the seven-day planting period from 13 20 May before the show opens to the public on 24 May.

Royal Botanic Gardens Director and Chief Executive, Dr Philip Moors, congratulated Phil, Sandra and Warren on their selection and welcomed them to the project team.

Our Show Garden will reflect the beauty of Australia and its unique plants, so its really important that we have experts such as Phil, Sandra and Warren on the ground to do the planting, explained Dr Moors.

We are very excited about our entry to Chelsea its a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us to showcase the best of Australian garden design to the rest of the world, said Dr Moors.

Its also a wonderful way for us to promote our award-winning Australian Garden at Cranbourne to an international audience, with the second and final stage of the Australian Garden set to open in early 2012, added Dr Moors.

The Australian Garden presented by the Royal Botanic Gardens will be one of only eight Show Gardens on prestigious Main Avenue at this years show. At 220m2, the Main Avenue sites are some of the largest on offer and attract a great deal of attention from thousands of visitors and millions of BBC viewers.

Phil Bowyer-Smyth, Coordinator Gardens North at RBG Melbourne

Phil says he embarked on a career in horticulture after discovering a passion for gardening, never imagining that he would one day be a part of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Im very excited and slightly overwhelmed to be heading to Chelsea, said Phil. Its such a prestigious event and I look forward to contributing to the projects success.

Having completed his apprenticeship at the Royal Botanic Gardens between 1989 and 1993, Phils career came full circle in 2006 when he accepted the role of Horticultural Technician at the Royal Botanic Gardens. Prior to this, Phil spent 10 years as Head Gardener at Lindsay Foxs Toorak home and two years as Head Gardener at Lauriston Girls School.

Between 2006 and June 2010, Phils role as a Horticultural Technician saw him tending the Camellias and Southern African Collections, maintaining The Ian Potter Foundation Childrens Garden, and installing irrigation systems at Guilfoyles Volcano and the Rare and Threatened Collection.

In June 2010, Phil took on the role of Acting Coordinator Gardens North. In this role he manages a team of nine Horticulturists who maintain the northern half of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, which includes the Ornamental Lake and Long Island.

Sandra Hodge, Horticultural Technician and Curator of the Lower Yarra River Habitat Collection (including Long Island), RBG Melbourne

Sandra has been a key member of the Horticulture team at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne for the past 11 years. In her role as Horticultural Technician from 1999 to 2002, Sandra tended the Perennial Border collection outside Gardens House. In 2002, Sandra became Curator of Long Island, where she looks after an ecological collection of indigenous plants.

Sandra developed a love for plants and the environment while growing up in rural Warrnambool. After completing her apprenticeship at Swan Hills Pioneer Settlement in 1990, Sandras career path was set and has lead her all the way to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

This is such a fantastic opportunity to be part of the team creating this amazing show garden, said Sandra.

The show garden will celebrate the beauty and diversity of Australian plants and landscapes, which Im really passionate about. Im really excited about the chance to share this passion with visitors to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, explained Sandra.

Warren Worboys, Curator of Horticulture, RBG Cranbourne

Warren was drawn to a career in horticulture as a teenager after discovering a passion for plants while working in his familys retail nursery during school holidays. However, he never imagined that he would one day be a part of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

This is an extraordinary opportunity to contribute to a display that will showcase the beauty and diversity of Australian plants in an Australian landscape, said Warren. I cant wait to show the Australian Garden to horticultural enthusiasts from across the world.

A 40-year veteran of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Warren began his career at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne in 1971 as an Apprentice Horticulturist. On completion of his apprenticeship in 1975, Warren took a position as a Student Horticulturist at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, where he stayed for the next three years.

In 1978, Warren returned to Australia and the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne as Assistant Nursery Manager and was promoted to Nursery Manager (1980 1987). This was followed by a stint as Curator, Government House Grounds, during 1988. In late 1988, Warren made the move to the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne, where he held the position of Horticulturist Level 2A for the next ten years. From 1998 to 2006, Warren worked as the Horticultural Development Officer before being offered the role of Curator, Horticulture, in 2006.

In his current role as Curator, Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne, Warren is overseeing the construction contractors in their day to day building of Stage 2 of the Australian Garden. He also provides advice about cultivated and indigenous plant to other staff of the Royal Botanic Gardens and to the general public.

Designed by acclaimed Australian landscape designer Jim Fogarty, the Show Garden gives a snapshot of the diversity of Australias flora and offers the chance to see some Australian native plants that are rarely seen outside of Australia. Jim is no stranger to Chelsea, having received a Silver-Gilt medal at the 2004 RHS Chelsea Flower Show for his Australian Inspiration garden.

All plants displayed, including the turf, are Australian native plants and have been sourced from specialist nurseries in Spain and Sicily through renowned UK plant managers Crocus, with the assistance of Kelways Nurseries.

The Show Garden will feature over 2,000 Australian native plants, including a number of species not commonly seen at Chelsea, such as the iconic Queensland Bottle Tree (Brachychiton rupestris); 25 varieties of Grevillea, including the intriguingly-named Grevillea Spiderman; and the distinctive Firewheel Tree (Stenocarpus sinuatus).

The extensive plant list also includes a selection of rare and threatened species, some of which have previously been sent to the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew as part of the Millennium Seed Bank Project, including:

- Buchan Blue Wattle (Acacia caerulescens)

- Mountain Hickory Wattle (Acacia obliquinervia)

- Spinning Gum (Eucalyptus perriniana)

- Gorge Gum (Eucalyptus saxatilis)

- Fragrant Saltbush (Rhagodia parabolica)

- Hairy Darling-pea (Swainsona greyana)

The dedicated and passionate team behind the Australian Garden entry is led by Dr Philip Moors, Director and Chief Executive of the Royal Botanic Gardens and a qualified ecologist with over 30 years experience. Dr Moors has worked closely with Jim Fogarty to create a vibrant Show Garden that will cement the Australian Garden as an essential part of any visit to Australia.

For more details on the Australian Garden as well as Melbourne and the Australian state of Victoria, please go to www.rbg.vic.gov.au / www.visitmelbourne.com/uk

News updates are also available at http://theaustraliangarden.wordpress.com/

and on Facebook and twitter @ RBG_Melbourne

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Living Edge