Design Ideas Archives - Page 2 of 2 - Kilby Park Tree Farm

Holmesglen design students stunning gardens at MIFGS

By | Design Ideas, What’s Hot | No Comments


Kilby Park Tree Farm has been strengthening our ties with Holmesglen TAFE recently, and we are very proud to be sponsors for two Holemsglen students who are entering designs in the Achievable Gardens section of the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (MIFGS).

Tomoko Nishida’s clever design is based on the concept of modularity. Called ‘The Moveable Garden’, the design is a modular, free-arrangement garden that unlocks the potential of small gardens. Each arranged element is in a square unit or pot that can be flexibly re positioned. You can enjoy designing your outdoor space with your imagination and adapt the layout to complement the seasons. This Garden Design is open-ended and is suitable for a balcony, rooftop or small courtyard.

In this outdoor living area, you can feel the ambience which is created by a combination of features including wooden grid panels, timber decking and screening plants. The selection of evergreen plants provides a year round screen with seasonal foliage of light green, deep green and burgundy.

We are pleased to be suppliers of following plants: Agonis flexuosa ‘Burgundy’, Bambusa oldhamii, Loropetalum ‘China Pink’, Trachelospermum jasminoides and Thysanolaena maxima (Tiger Grass).


Mahli Cadman has thought about the dilemma for a lot of garden-lovers, that is, living in a rental property. How to create a garden you love without investing time, mone and energy into a garden that you will have to leave behind when you move.

I’ll let Mahli explain her inspiration;

‘The inspiration for this garden has come from my own personal experiences of renting, and a love of the pastel colours that defined the ‘50s. By marrying the two concepts and introducing a certain modern aspect, I’m creating a space that’s fun and quirky, yet versatile and sophisticated. Having these two facets gives a certain depth of character to the garden.’

‘I want to challenge the idea of what having a garden in a rental property really means. The general dilemma of shrinking block sizes and lifestyle changes makes us re-evaluate the way we use living spaces and how we can still make it personal. The beauty of this garden is its ability to be changed, moved around and taken with you, wherever you go.’

‘The bright, fresh pastel colours of the 1950’s has always been appealing to me, so I wanted to include them in the garden. The mint green and aqua blue are juxtaposed against a muted range of greys and whites. I’ve scattered pockets of colour to entice and invite. This is also reflected in the plant selection with the addition of mauves, blues, yellows and whites.’

Kilby Park Tree Farm have helped me achieve this. I’ve used Sapium siberferum to add height and shade. They’re suitable for pots, they’re slightly standardised which allows for a more open, unified space and the foliage is bold in shape yet subtle subtle in colour. Towards the back of the garden I’ve placed two beautiful lush Waterhousia floribundas for height and screening purposes. They help to frame the rest of the garden by blocking out fences and softening the edges, removing some of the unsightly hard surfaces from view. Kilby Tree Farm have also provided the Gardenias that feature throughout my garden. The fresh green leaves and creamy white flowers add a burst of energy to the array of plants and contrast well against the pots.’

‘This garden is incredibly achievable, as it can be easily replicated by the home gardener and tailored to their own desires or needs.’

We wish both Mahli and Tomoko the best of luck with their garden creations.


Kilby Tree Farm and Urbaneco’s ‘human nest’

By | Customer Profiles, Design Ideas, What’s Hot | No Comments

‘ It really is about nesting, nurturing, time out, sanctuary, nature connection…. ‘

This is the inspiration behind Urbaneco Australia’s 2012 Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (MIFGS) entry.  Taking the idea of nesting as a starting point, Charlie Evans and his team have created an urban sanctuary in human scale. Central to the design is a human ‘nest’, a wooden form that envelopes the lucky inhabitant. The form swings from a steel ribbon that snakes its way through the landscape. Changes in topography, and clever use of planting, reinforce the feeling of connection to the environment. As Charlie says ‘ I want the shape to be nestled completely in planting to get the effect of a real sanctuary. ‘ The landforms are also key to the creation of a space that is welcoming, protecting and nurturing.

The planting is restrained, focusing on shape and movement. Grasses and perennials have been chosen to create a meadow-like setting. The main drama comes from some beautiful tall smoke trees, Cotinus x obovata ‘Grace’. These give height and form without bulk. The stunning foliage colour ties in with the some of the harder elements – wood, steel and stone.  Waterhouseas and Eleaocarpus are used to delineate and encompass the area, giving a soft, green vertical element to contrast the changes in height and shapes in the horizontal planes. A low wall also plays across the space, it’s curved outline echoing the slopes and mounds of the ground.

Urbaneco Australia are a multi-award winning company, whose work has been shown both in Australia and overseas. Kilby Park Tree Farm is very proud to be principle sponsors for their stunning 2012 MIFGS design. Read more about Urbaneco Australia here.


Winning ways with Smoke Bushes

By | Design Ideas, Plant Profiles, Tips | No Comments

The smoke bush – Cotinus coggygria – is one of the most beautiful of large bushes/small trees. The name smoke bush comes from the unusual flowering habit. Large inflorences develop in late spring, with many small flower buds. Most of these buds abort, and a small, feathery plume grows in its place. En-masse, these give the appearance of purplish-grey smoke. A large specimen can be enveloped in this ‘smoke’, which can be long lasting, and gives an unusual and beautiful display.

Cotinus can be vigorous growers, but the respond well to be pruned back very hard. Pruning will encourage the brilliant dark purple new growth of the purple-leaved cultivars such as ‘Grace’. If grown as a multi-stemmed bush, they can be pruned almost to the base. If they are grown as a single trunk tree, they can be pruned right back to near the base of the branches. However, be aware that Cotinus flower on second-year wood, so pruning a complete tree every year will mean that you will never get to enjoy the ‘smoke’. A good compromise is to prune back 1/3 or 1/2 of the branches each year. This will enable you to keep the tree in shape and still get to see the wonderful flowering display.

Cotinus lend themselves to a variety of different design styles. They can work well in slightly less formal situations, and look stunning at the back of a border. In Autumn the smokey flower heads look great, especially near dusk. One idea Heather came up with was to plant them behind a group of artichokes, the silver leaves contrasting with the purple. Large purple-flowered Alliums could be added to finish a stunning display.