13 Mar 2019
The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (MIFGS) is a five-day extravaganza of beautiful blooms, incredible landscaping feats and exceptional design, that attracts green thumbs from all around the country. Awe-inspiring displays, in-depth workshops, informative talks and awesome competitions make it the perfect event to find inspiration for your own home. This year is the festival’s 24th year and it’s set to wow the crowds with gardening marvels.
Trams along Routes 86 or 96 will get you to the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens (hop off at Stop 11 Melbourne Museum) and with services as often as every five or six minutes on both routes during peak times, you won’t be waiting long. The majority of the trams on these route are low-floor trams, making hopping on and off easy. If you want to experience a touch of history (or it’s more convenient from your starting point) taking trams along Route 30 and the heritage City Circle Route 35 to Stop 9 La Trobe Street will also get you there.
Need a reminder for safe travelling on a Melbourne tram? No sweat — follow these hot tips, and you’ll be taking in the sights of MIFGS faster than you can say Dendrobium Orchid. As your tram trundles toward you, make sure your valid myki is at the ready so you can touch on and bag prime position on your chariot. Take a seat (preferably) or, if it’s busy, take hold of a handle so your driver can get you safely to the show while you take in the sights of bustling Melbourne. When you see your stop approaching make sure your belongings are ready to go so you can beat the bustle. Wait for the tram to come to a complete stop before you make a move for the exits. When in Melbourne, this is how we tram! Find out more: yarratrams.com.au/tram-safety
Some of the best local and international designers will put their skills to the test and their creations on display at the Landscape Design Show Gardens competition where designers are tasked with creating a show garden that speaks to their unique aesthetic. Kiwi Bayley LuuTomes, gold medalist at the New Zealand Flower and Garden Show, has his sights on top honours with a fairytale-style garden, filled with plants from social enterprise Yarra View Nursery. Meanwhile, the team from MUSA Landscape Architecture are partnering with Beyond Blue to create a meaning-filled garden that chronicles the path towards positive mental health.
If flowers make you happy, make a beeline for the Great Hall of Flowers inside the Royal Exhibition Building. The world’s leading florists create incredible arrangements — from the small and intricate to the large and elaborate — and showcase them under the stunning arches of the building. For a majestic display reminiscent of a childhood dream, head for the installation by Instagram plant influencer Jason Chongie.
If you’ve been to the MIFGS before, there’s plenty of new things to keep you on your toes. Award-winning landscape designer Mark Browning will unveil his interactive and tactile Welcome Garden — a relaxed space for visitors to plan their day, put their feet up or take a moment to admire its beauty. It’s also the place where a range of experts, from landscape designers to growers, will share their wealth knowledge through talks and workshops. Green Connections — the Feature Garden by contemporary landscape designer Richard Bellemo — will impress the whole family. This interactive sensory garden aims to connect people with nature and features a bamboo forest, dedicated play area and a manual water pump to educate visitors on the life-giving water cycle.
The wonders of this show are impressive during daylight but come nightfall it offers an enchantment of a different kind. On 29 March, Carlton Gardens will light up for an evening of blooms, bubbly and bites. Pop-up wine bars, beer gardens and a gourmet food village, as well as a special Gardens by Twilight program, take over the show. Live music will fill the festival while you enjoy all of the floral and landscaping showcases until 9pm.
Pre- and post-show, there’s plenty of things for plant lovers to do in Melbourne. For starters, pay CERES (Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies) a visit and see a sustainable community garden in action. Browse through this permaculture and bushfood nursery that, in addition to edible plant life, offers organic gardening books and fresh produce. If you’re feeling peckish, enjoy some of the tastes of the organic CERES garden at The Merri Cafe, where you can enjoy meals like spelt fettuccine or a Mediterranean brown rice salad. To get here, hop on a Route 96 tram to Stop 27 Blyth Street.
Prefer to arrange than to grow? If you want to build on some of the tips and tricks you picked up at MIFGS, book in for a class with leading Melbourne florist Victoria Whitelaw who owns a flower shop in South Yarra and a flower school in Richmond. She has more than 35 years of experience and received a gold medal for floral design at the 2017 MIFGS. Here you can learn the skills to create your own perfectly styled arrangements to adorn your home with. Classes include Beginners Guide to Floristry, English-style Urn Arrangements and Long-Stemmed Hand-tied Bouquets. Prefer to leave it to the professionals? Victoria’s South Yarra store is worth a visit in itself, with colourful, fragrant and perfectly placed blooms at every turn, just jump on Route 58 tram to Stop 126 Myrtle Street. Or, to get to Victoria’s Richmond flower school, take Route 70 tram to Stop 9 Lennox Street.
All information is considered to be true and correct at the date of publication.
This story has been produced in partnership with Yarra Trams.
Need some help getting from A to B so you can discover Melbourne?
Just pop your starting point and where you want to go into the PTV Journey Planner, as well as your ideal departure or arrival time.
The Planner will find the easiest way for you to get where you want to go, plus give you easy-to-follow instructions on how to get there.
For more information, visit ptv.vic.gov.au