Horticulture students unveil garden for Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show

Horticulture students at Bendigo TAFE hope to inspire others to reconnect with nature through their show garden at the 2022 Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (MIFGS).

Titled ‘Andrum’, which means ‘breathing space’ in Swedish, the garden was designed by Diploma of Horticulture student Pierre Jacobsson and brought to life by a team of 15 students from Bendigo TAFE.

Located at Carlton Gardens, the show garden is part of the 2022 MIFGS Achievable Gardens design competition featuring a total of nine entries from across Victoria. Public is also invited to vote for their favourite entries for the People’s Choice Award.

Mr Jacobsson of Taradale said the garden’s design was inspired by the disconnection experienced by many people across Victoria due to COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns over the past two years.

“I designed this space around the legacy of COVID-19, particularly the essence of being in lockdown and losing connection with people, community and nature. I hope my garden will inspire people to reconnect with nature and reconnect with community,” said Mr Jacobsson.

“The garden is basically a story about human connection with nature and reconnecting with Mother Earth through different coloured plants, art sculptures and other art installations.”

The garden features five different types of grass interspersed with a variety of perennial flowers and plants designed to relax the body and mind.

One of Mr Jacobsson’s favourite features of the garden is a handmade sculpture of a woman made from willow, the result of his personal interest in weaving with willow.

“My wife and I have weaved a woman from willow branches, named Freja, and she presents a gratefulness that connects with the rest of the plants,” he said.

“I’ve weaved garden beds before; I like the process of collecting willow and putting it in water to soften up. It’s an organic beautiful, connection to nature.”

Pursuing formal training in horticulture was, for Mr Jacobsson, also a result of COVID-19. Born and raised in Sweden, Mr Jacobsson moved to Australia 22 years ago and runs a business leading tours for international tourists. When business stalled due to COVID-19 restrictions, the 53-year-old turned to his second passion – horticulture.

“We’ve been in hibernation because of lockdown so I took that opportunity to catch up on my passion in gardening and horticulture. I started the Certificate III in Horticulture two years ago and began the Diploma of Horticulture last year,” he said.

“This course might lead me into combining both things, such as steering tours towards horticulture, garden and agriculture tours, or to set up my own business in landscaping.”

The student garden project spanned six months, including design, planning, sourcing materials and construction.

Bendigo TAFE’s Head of Campus Dave Richardson congratulated participating students for their efforts in developing a showpiece for the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.

“We are incredibly proud of our horticulture students at Bendigo TAFE who are featuring their creations alongside works by Australia’s most talented landscape and floral experts. Opportunities like these set our students apart and provide an excellent platform for them to progress their careers,” said Mr Richardson.

“Pierre and his teammates have also included an incredible message in their show garden, which reflects on the importance of reconnecting after the disruptions of COVID-19. It demonstrates the challenges faced by our students over the past two years, and their tenacity and success in coming through with fresh ideas, new perspectives and an inspiring message for the community.

“I also acknowledge the role of their educators who have supported them throughout the entire project, from its inception to construction.”

The annual MIFGS Achievable Gardens design competition aims to provide students with an opportunity to showcase their design skills and horticultural knowledge, promote achievable gardening and encourage the use of high-quality plants in the landscape.

The 2022 MIFGS runs from 30 March to 3 April 2022 at the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens. More information visit

Learn more about Bendigo TAFE’s horticulture courses.


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