Root awakening

Root awakening
The award-winning garden that landscape architect Brendan Moar designed for the Australian Garden Show in 2013.

To landscape architect Brendan Moar, the idea of show gardens is just a little bit peculiar.

"They are such a different beast to the normal gardens I am so used to," says the boisterous 44-year-old Australian who lives in Sydney.

"The plants aren't really growing - they're just sitting there. But you gotta make it look like a real garden, so it's quite an art form," he explains with a laugh.

Ironically, he has a natural flair for it, because he won big at the Australian Garden Show last year despite it being his first-ever attempt designing a show garden. He took home a Gold Medal, and awards for Best in Show as well as the People's Choice.

But he isn't taking his success for granted, as he admits he still has a lot of work to do to prepare for the upcoming Singapore Garden Festival in August this year.

"It's my first time doing a garden here, so it's quite daunting to get around and see what Singaporeans are exposed to every day. And I've noticed there's a really high level of design here!" he says.

"In Australia you wouldn't find this level of planting and attention to detail in the streets. Here all the amazing plants I see in the nurseries are everywhere in public spaces. So you're a hard audience to design for, because you've seen it all."

So far, the concept for his festival show garden is still a work-in-progress, he reveals. But at the very least, Mr Moar intends to maintain his personal style - a balance between plants and architecture, and a contrast of simple elements against complicated ones.

At the same time, he is also keeping one clear vision in mind - the design must be catered to the local audience.

That's because to him, the most important thing about garden design is that audiences have to be able to connect with it. He explains: "When you're designing a garden in Singapore, it has to look like it belongs. As opposed to recreating a part of France in the middle of Singapore - that will just look a bit like Disneyland."

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