New Nordic Notes – Show Garden Success

New Nordic Notes

New Nordic Notes - Show Garden in Melbourne 2024

Swedish success in Melbourne

A few weeks ago, ’New Nordic Notes’ show garden displayed subtle Nordic elegance at Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show.The garden was created as a celebration and inspiration of the Nordics, encouraging us to look at the past with pride and respect. It motivates to continue storytelling and to create meaningful design expressions despite living in Australia or in the Nordics. 

There is a particular word in Swedish, smultronställe. Literally, it translates to a place in the wild where an abundance of wild strawberries grows. Figuratively, it means a pleasant place where to escape from everyday life, with sentimental and personal value. We decided at an early stage to create a garden as a place free from stress, a place to relax and reflect, not to be dictated where to stand or sit. As an anecdote to ‘smultronställe’ we added strawberries in the planting beds, the variety Ruby Ann with red flowers, much appreciated by visitors. ”Smultron” (fragaria vesca) is the common name for wild strawberry in Swedish. As the name suggests, the plant grows in the wild, producing sweet, juicy small berries during the summer months, much appreciated by both children and adults. Many people in the Nordics hold dear childhood memories of picking wild strawberries, arranging them, one by one on a meadow straw, before eating them.

Studying pioneers of the past and celebrating design ethos gives thought and meaning to the core of what we are doing. It develops a critical perspective on the work and acts as a reference point for new ideas. For over 150 years, it has been a Nordic tradition to make weaving heart-shaped ornaments of coloured paper during Christmas. The hearts are traditionally put in the Christmas tree, and opens as small baskets, often filled with sweets.  The exact age and origin of the tradition of making paper hearts is unknown, but the oldest known pleated Christmas hearts were made by the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen in 1860. The garden displays both weaving patterns as well as our refined version of the traditional heart throughout the garden, in scale and proportion to suit the space and to be relevant in the design. Hearts can be seen in the gate, gate-hinges, a decorative focal point in the decking, as well as in the pergola. Weaving pattern of veneer is shown in all vertical areas of the garden, the rear wall and the perimeter of the space. 

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The essence of local and traditional materials (hard- and soft landscaping) has proven successful for centuries as a source of inspiration that stimulates us and also allows work to be compelling, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. The New Nordic Notes show garden encourages to stay curious to materials and to appreciate nature. Wood is a material that made us, in the Nordics. Birch was perhaps the tree that contributed most to the household of our ancestors. Birch has excellent properties; it is versatile and strong yet easy to shape. It was used for domestic items, baskets, backpacks, shoes, fishing equipment, canoes and building houses. The New Nordic Notes show garden uses wood as the only hard landscaping material, to show case how versatile one single material can be. Edges of the deckings are left open and exposed, for the material to speak for itself and show the beauty that the end grain possesses. The face grain of large sheets of veneer, hand-weaving on site, gives character to the space. Many visitors commented on the beautiful scent of wood along the nature inspired Nordic nature and woodland planting of ferns, anemones and birch trees. 

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The New Nordic Notes show garden was awarded Silver Gilt at Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show 2024. Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show is the largest show garden event in the southern hemisphere, attracting over 100,000 visitors every year. After the show, memories and photos are what remain of the garden – nothing but love. All materials have been reused and all plants have been returned to suppliers, with sustainability in mind. 
Design by Annika Zetterman och Kajsa Björne
Constructed by Landart Landscapes

More info @newnordicnotes