Welcome to Autumn, dear readers!
Or, if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, welcome to Spring! (Sorry in advance for all the Hayfever, oof).
I mentioned in my March overview that I had the distinct pleasure of attending the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show on the first of April with my lovely mum!
Awww look at us.
Also can you tell we’re related? Peas in a dang pod we are. Not to mention half my outfit is actually mum’s (the beaded necklace & black cardigan). Amazing.
Anyway, it was mum’s second time attending (though it was I think 5 years or so since she’d been) and my first.
From what mum could recall, the first time she went there was no indoors section; it was all set up outside in Carlton Gardens.
This time however, you entered through the Royal Exhibition Hall (opposite the Melbourne Museum) and it was PACKED with stalls, exhibitions and more.
The best part though, was that in the middle of the hall they set up a glorious old carousel. I think the photo really shows it better than I can describe it:
It was surrounded by an amazing array of flowers and native plants.
We decided to explore outside first since we weren’t sure if the weather was going to turn!
Carlton Gardens was absolutely packed with stalls, exhibitions & more!
They had mini gardens on display as part of a landscaping competition, which really opened my eyes to how you can totally transform a small space into something utterly magical.
Aside from the mini gardens, outside also boasted a delightful selection of food trucks (we got coffees & hot donuts) and market stalls!
We spent a good couple of hours wandering around and taking everything. Some of the gardening ideas were absolutely brilliant.
Like look at this wall of chillies?
That’s like, art AND gardening combined. Gartening?
Okay, moving on!
Since my mum probably won’t see this, I’m gonna let you all in on a little secret… 👀
She REALLY liked the Kangaroo Paw plant above but didn’t end up buying it, so I’m getting her one for Mother’s Day in May!
No one tell her, okay? 🤫
She did, however, buy me a LOT of plants (which was extremely sweet of her and very appreciated) and I’ll show you those a little further down!
After we’d finished wandering around outside, we went back to the exhibition hall!
We started on the bottom level, looking at all the garden & flower displays.
Then we headed upstairs (in the lift, because oh my god by this point my feet had swollen up and my arthritic knees were complaining loudly) and checked out the art gallery.
I also very much enjoyed the displays that involved a big centrepiece, such as the one below with Dorothy the Truck.
There was also a shop I fell in love with immediately called The Naturalist. I didn’t end up buying anything because I’m still not quite sure how I want to redecorate my house and where I would put things. But SOON!
The High Tea ☕
I had also booked mum and I in for a two hour High Tea in the afternoon!
It was absolutely delicious and we were allowed to take anything we couldn’t finish, which was really nice!
And I mean, just look at the menu…
There’s no way you’d be leaving any of that behind, my god.
I didn’t have Prosecco because I’m allergic to alcohol but the pot of Earl Grey tea was absolutely scrumptious.
I think my favourite food on the menu was the Atlantic Salmon tarts. Although having said that, both mum and I nearly died of happiness when we tried the whipped caramel butter!
Once we finished the High Tea, we had a decision to make! It was 5:30pm and our ticket gave us access to the Autumn Night Garden as well as Gardens By Twilight.
The Autumn Night Garden was a courtyard which featured live music, food trucks and bar.
Gardens by Twilight was Carlton Gardens and the Royal Exhibition Hall lit up beautifully by fairy lights, lanterns, neon and more.
In the end, we actually chose to head home. We’d been there since around 11am (close to 7 hours at this point) and I was really starting to fade.
I think if I go again, I’d probably arrive later in the day so I have more energy to experience the Gardens by Twilight! I wasn’t too fussed about not sitting in the Autumn Night Garden, as bars & loud live music in enclosed spaces aren’t exactly my thing.
So, What Plants Did I Get?
Look, the short answer is: a lot.
My veggie garden outside is finished for the year and so I’m filling the void with houseplants.
I already had three indoor plants:
- Spider Plant
- Swiss Cheese Plant
- Chinese Money Plant
And they’ve been going very well!
So now a few more have been welcomed to the household:
I also bought new pots; one for the Blue Star Fern, the terrarium for the Boston Fern and Arrowhead, as well as both the stands and pots for the Assorted Coleus and the Lime Lava.
I went for plants that were non-toxic or low-toxic to cats. Mikasa has rarely been interested in chewing on/eating plants, but I wanted ones that I could have within her reach that wouldn’t hurt her if she did decide to take a cheeky little monch.
I’m in love with the colours of the Coleus and the striped blue pot just suits it so well. Coleus is mildly toxic, so it lives on the top of my bookshelf.
The Lime Lava is also really cool! I want to try and propagate it eventually to grow it outside, because when it has space you can see why it’s called “Lime Lava”…
I’m also really chuffed at myself for making the terrarium! It’s only two plants, soil and white rocks; so a simple one but I am so thrilled with it. I also found some old, much smaller terrarium jars in my bathroom so I’m going to have a go at making some moss & lichen terrariums too!
But of course I haven’t mentioned the star of the show. My absolute favourite
The Wollemi Pine
The Dinosaur Plant, the Pinosaur, the Jurassic Plant.
I’ll be completely honest, I hadn’t even heard of this plant until I saw it at the Garden Show.
I did however actually recognise it immediately as “hey mum… Isn’t that one of the plants from the BBC’s Walking With Dinosaurs?”
To which my mum very patiently said “I’m not sure, go have a look” as she, for some reason, does not categorise ancient plants from old British documentaries…
Anywho, I toddled on over, looked and sure enough I was right.
And then I had to try very hard not to cry because I love dinosaurs and suddenly I was touching a plant that has survived for over 200 million years.
A native plant where only 100 or so exist in the wild. A plant that was cloned from those plants and is part of a massive conservation project to reintroduce them.
And now I have one, planted on my block. It’s great because another nickname for them is “The Survivor”. They’re frost-hardy (great, considering I’ve nicknamed my house “Frost Hollow”) and can survive in temperatures from -12 degrees celsius to 45 degrees celsius (if it ever hits 45 degrees here I am suing someone).
They also grow to about 25 metres tall, although I have read they can reach 40 metres as well, so I’ve planted it a fair distance from the house just be safe.
Once it’s a bit more mature, I’m planning on getting a little plaque to put at the base with when it was planted and a sentence explaining how it’s a native, endangered, literal living fossil.
Gardening: What’s Next?
A few different things!
First up; propagation, using the aptly named station above. I’ve already popped in a Swiss Cheese leaf, a Boston Fern leaf and a Chinese Money Plant.
I can see things are starting to happen in there, so hopefully in a couple weeks I’ll be able to pot them up!
I’m planning on gifting them (dad’s already called dibs on the Swiss Cheese plant) and taking them to a local swap-cart a lovely local set up (which such a cool concept and I’ve gotten so much out of it already!)
Secondly; lichen harvesting! My housemate Jack has been pruning the apple trees and dad noticed we have an amazing selection of different dried lichens on the branches. I want to use some for terrariums and maybe sell some to model railway builders (dad’s idea).
Thirdly; set up the outdoor raised beds for next Spring. I want to pull up the old tomato plants and start preparing the soil. Also planning what I actually want to try and grow too!
Lastly; finish the greenhouse… The frame is ready! I just need to order the plastic and then Jack can get her all finished and ready.
Oh also! As an added note: I’m using the paid version of the app “Picture This” for watering & fertiliser reminders, plant identification and gardening information. It’s super helpful and easy to use! (Not sponsored or affiliated btw, just sharing a handy resource.)
I hope this has been an enjoyable and somewhat informative read!
If you can make it to next year’s show, I’d highly recommend it. Plus it’ll be their 25th Anniversary so I imagine something extra special will be occurring!
In the meantime, I’ll keep you all updated on my houseplants, propagation journey and beloved Wollemi. I’d recommend signing up to the mailing address below and following me on Instagram for all the plant-based updates (hohoho).
And on that note…
See you soon!
🍄 🐾 🌙 🍃 🪐 🌈