Victorian Oliver Ashworth-Martin’s background in fine arts and sculpture has recently allowed his creativity to move into landscape design. And it’s his approach to creating soulful gardens with an artist’s eye that now doubt caught the judges attention when he presented his ‘Tea in the Woods’ show garden at the 2023 Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show.
Taking out the honours for the Achievable Gardens category, Ashworth-Martin’s celebrated the sensory experience even the smalles of gardens can provide, with a focus on the simple act of brewing a cup of restorative lemon myrtle tea.
“Sometimes it is the simple things, like picking edibles from the garden, that generates the most joy for me”.
From a design perspective, the show garden put the focus on form, textures using larger and contrasting plants to frame smaller and more delicate with pops of colour and the use of composition to help draw the eye around the space. Even though this was to showcase a small garden, wild and luscious plantings were still employed with a focus on combing natives, exotic and edibles – using tough and resilient plants that work well together in micro-climates.
“I also wanted to use colours and tones that echo the deep dense forest and bush, particularly the bush around Victoria,” says Oliver of his inspiration for plant selection. His clever use of mirrors also helped extend the sense of space and produce various viewpoints and more dynamic movement. The designer even incorporated one of his original sculptures into his show garden.