An army of talented Melbourne Polytechnic students are marching into this year’s Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (MIFGS) with their eyes firmly on the ‘prize’.
Three horticulture students are competing in the Achievable Gardens category and a whopping 16 floristry students have high hopes in their two categories of floral artistry.
The Certificate IV Landscape Design students have entered the Avenue of Achievable Gardens competition, showcasing their design skills and horticultural knowledge, promoting achievable gardening and encouraging the use of high quality plants in the landscape.
Jason Donnelly, Travis Overend and David Joseph are doing everything from concept design and project coordination to construction of the garden in the famous Carlton Gardens.
An achievable garden is a site 5 x 4 metres, designed so the average home gardener living in Melbourne’s inner-city suburbs can build and maintain it themselves.
Jason describes his achievable garden as ‘a lush green recharge zone using recycled materials and sustainable practices, while Travis says his is ‘designed to be a lush haven within the bustling city suburbs, balancing a minimal contemporary palette with dense plants so the garden becomes a portal into purity’.
David explains: ‘My design is based on the Fibonacci sequence, a numerical series found in nature, from the cellular level right up to the galaxies. It features all native plants and references the importance of fire in our environment.’
The trio are hoping to follow in the footsteps of Sarah Jardine, who in 2018 won the Award of Excellence for her Wonder Wall installation in the Avenue of Achievable Gardens.
Sharon Walker, lead teacher Horticulture and Landscaping, has high hopes for her students, who have been planning for this for a year and will benefit just from competing.
It’s for industry exposure, to get their name out there. They are literally thrown in the deep end, they get a lot of exposure into the industry.’
Meanwhile, inside the Royal Exhibition Building Great Hall, the Certificate III Floristry students will be displaying their exciting designs over two levels.
Upstairs will be the intermediates - Jaylee-Renee Van Ginkel, Amy Loring, Elsbeth Rozanski, Stephanie Monaco, Theresa Webb and Ashleigh Becker – who are tasked with making an arrangement in a given container.
Downstairs are the advanced students - Brooke Mora, Kate Manning, Bart Lorist, Martioni Juatan Garcia, Stacie Wang, Skye Teo, Jennifer O’Fee, Sarah Bird, Angelina Corso and Eva Daly – who have a stand or a plinth to work on.
Melbourne Polytechnic Floristry teacher Myhanh Rutledge says the students can choose to use whatever flowers they like, but their design must have at least 60% of horticultural materials, fresh or dried, and the flowers need to last the five days of the show.
‘It’s a really good challenge for the students, they like it because they can use their creative license on these designs,’ Myhanh says.
‘They use all the skills and techniques that they learn in class and incorporate them into their designs, they can add their own personality and design style to it.
‘What the students can showcase in this competition is a being a bit more creative, showing that there is another side to floristry, there are some really abstract and artistic ways to use flowers.’
Myhanh will also be welcoming visitors to the Melbourne Polytechnic floristry department stand to chat with prospective students about courses.
‘It’s a good opportunity to see what can be achieved through study at Melbourne Polytechnic,’ she says. Myhanh, herself a former Melbourne Polytechnic student turned teacher, is also producing a piece for a model to carry in Fleur Couture, a floral runway show.
The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show is on Wednesday 27 March to Sunday 31 March 9.00am to 5.00pm every day in the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens
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