Ryman Healthcare’s debut at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show presented by Scotts Osmocote has been heralded as an important addition to Australia’s biggest celebration of all things horticulture.
Landscape and design industry expert Matt Leacy said the inaugural Balcony Gardens Competition, sponsored by Ryman, recognised the future of gardening.
“Adding it to a show like this is really important because not everyone has those big blocks, so it’s really important to show how much can be done with a small space,” Matt said.
The winner was announced during the event’s opening breakfast, attended by dignitaries including Lord Mayor Sally Capp and Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott.
Lush balcony garden, 'Eco Apartment Living', designed by Sara Correia at Tempest Landscapes to promote wellbeing and sustainability, was announced as the winner.
The winning design by Sara Correia at Tempest Landscapes.
The winning garden was one of eight 2.4m x 1.2m creative and considered finalists judged by The Nursery Garden Association of Australia.
“This is the first time we’ve ever designed anything for the show, so winning is very exciting,” Sara said.
“Thank you to Ryman Healthcare for sponsoring the competition and giving me the opportunity to help promote quality of life.”
The minimalistic design featured drought resistant plants, solar powered copper lighting and a bamboo slider screen, she said.
Due to COVID-19, getting the design to the show had been more a case of patience than a mad rush.
“In 2020 we came down from where we are based in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales and picked up the frame and started construction and we got to five days before the show and it had to stop because of COVID-19,” she said.
“When we found out the show was back on this year, we spent two days completing the balcony and bringing it back to life again.”
The balcony competition and focus on small-space gardening was more relevant than ever.
“I think particularly after the pandemic, giving the opportunity to everyone who may live in high-rise buildings or small spaces to create their own sanctuary is important because the benefits to wellbeing and quality of life are huge," she said.
Small-space gardening is an emerging trend around the world as demands on urban living increase.
Hundreds of Ryman residents have flourishing balcony gardens having moved from large and often no longer manageable backyards, to smaller spaces they can tend to with care and enjoyment.
Sara Correia and Ryman Healthcare Victorian Sales and Community Relations Manager Debra Richardson.
Other Balcony Garden Competition entries featured murals of iconic Melbourne landscapes, a smorgasbord of native plants and serene spaces to enjoy a coffee.
The other finalists were Kep Horticulture, Jen Garden Ceramique, Inner City Nature, Party Plant Events, Bay Road Nursery, Millie Burbury and Carrie Middleditch.
'Party at Home' by Party Plants and Flowers.
Thousands of visitors to the balcony garden displays also enjoyed the full Ryman experience with a luscious Ryman display featuring living walls, tea sampling, an exclusive Ryman publication and 10-minute one-on-one workshops with the company's show ambassador Matt Leacy.