Architecture students' sweet life
Students Lydia Paton and Bethany Williamson from the School of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design have made the final cut in Fleming's Student Design Competition, making up half the Australian quota of finalists at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.
With a theme of "La Dolce Vita" (the sweet life) and a prize trip for two to London for the Chelsea Flower Show plus $6000 spending money for the ultimate winner, both finalists were inspired by the sensual world for their landscape design entry that will be realised and displayed in early April in Melbourne.
The Fleming's Student Design Competition has become highly regarded during the seven years of its existence, and represents a great opportunity for students to display their talent to the general public.
Both finalists will be flown to Melbourne to see their design and assist with the final touches before the show opens to the public.
Lydia, a fifth year Architecture/Landscaping double degree student, based her entry on the fact that most people go to garden shows to get inspiration for their own gardens. One of the entry conditions is that students must choose from a selected range of plants, which were mostly non-flowering, so Lydia worked painted pots into her design to create year-round colour in the garden.
She also has a strong environmental bent and so used two different but truly dolce vita-style mulches in the garden to save on water.
"I used cocoa bean husk mulch, a by-product of the chocolate industry that gives off a wonderful, rich, warm, chocolatey fragrance," she said. "The other mulch is grape marc, a lovely, dark compost that is a by-product of the wine industry."
Lydia is about to start a new landscaping business focusing on using local, indigenous plants with low water requirements. She currently works closely with her parents in the Coorong and on Kangaroo Island, and studying birds and observing their environment at Roxby Downs.
Bethany, who has just completed her first year of Architecture, opted to create a pleasure garden with a Japanese theme and an outdoor bathtub.
"I was brainstorming for inspiration and thinking about the sweetest pleasures in life and the bathtub popped into my mind and just wouldn't go away," she said.
"I studied Japanese at school and I really love Japanese design. Everything I do has a Japanese twist, and so the design emerged."
Bethany has studied interior design previously, took some time out to work and returned to tertiary studies in 2005.
"I have only done one year of Architecture, but I am definitely leaning towards Landscape Architecture, so making it to the finals of this competition has been a great encouragement for me to pursue that direction."
Bethany and Lydia's work will be on display at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show from April 5-9.
Story by Lisa Reid