HMAA MIFGS Awards Dinner

There’s been a long tradition that members of the horticultural media gather for a convivial dinner at a hotel near Carlton Gardens in Melbourne in March during the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (MIFGS). As the hotel was called the Pumphouse, the get together became generally known as the Pumphouse Dinner.

After several years on hold due to COVID and despite the renaming of the hotel as the St Andrews Hotel, the Pumphouse Dinner returned in 2023, sponsored by Seasol. This year around 50 people including HMAA members from all states of Australia, gathered for the dinner.

Tributes, memories and awards

As well as providing an opportunity for the media to get together, the 2023 dinner was a chance to pay tribute to Lisa Boyd, owner and Company Director of Seasol International, hear from pre-dinner speaker Prof. Tim Entwisle from the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, and to present the Joy Harland Memorial Photographic Awards.

On the eve of the sale of Seasol International to the Dulux Group, Lisa spoke of the science behind Seasol and her memories of the company as it grew through the decades to become one of the most recognisable brands in Australian gardening.

In recognition of Lisa’s and Seasol’s support of gardening and the gardening media in Australia for over 40 years, HMAA life member Leigh Siebler presented Lisa with a large, framed botanical artwork of a clematis flower by HMAA member Miffy Gilbert.

Burnley book

To conclude the dinner, Michèle Adler spoke briefly about her book Burnley Gardens: their Design and the People who loved them. Michèle, a Burnley graduate and past lecturer, has written and published the book which brings to life the stories behind the heritage-listed gardens of the Burnley Campus of the University of Melbourne, best known to most simply as ‘Burnley’.

Dating back to 1861, Burnley has produced many great gardeners and horticulturists and was where MIFGS had its origins as Garden Week. Many of the early plantings and some of the design features of the garden remain evident today and are documented in photographs, historic documents, memories and plans.

Although the book was initially published in 2022 it is being updated and will be re-released later in 2023. It is both a guide book to Burnley Gardens and a well-documented history of the people and plants that made Burnley a centre for learning in Australian horticulture.

Jennifer Stackhouse

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