It’s no secret Wes Fleming is a die-hard Bombers supporter, so it was completely his pleasure to design and install a landscape at the Essendon Football Club’s (EFC) new digs at Tullamarine.
Fleming and his team of landscape architects, horticulturalists and landscapers have created a dreamtime garden statement to match the surrounding landscape installed by Fleming’s Landscapes in the projects first phase of establishment.
The project, which has seen the landscaping support the development of the eastern wing of the building, and the official ‘entry’ to the EFC club, includes a staircase that fans out to a ‘welcome to country’ site perfect for smoking ceremonies and pays tribute to the rich indigenous heritage and players of the club, and includes a statue of Michael Long.
A selection of advanced Australian native Xanthorrhoea, stand proud atop a stunning landscape that overlooks both the practise ovals and club entrance. This area features large boulders that beg to be scrambled upon and a plant pallet of Australian natives.
Moving down the staircase towards the entry which is paved in bluestone the plant pallet softens and includes more ornamental plants including Fleming’s newly introduced Distylium – an indestructible low growing evergreen shrub with a lovely soft weeping habit and rich green foliage.
Other striking features include the use of super-advanced oak tree the team at Fleming’s selected and fittingly named Quercus coccinea ‘Bomber’. These impressive specimens feature foliage that turns red-black in autumn and perfectly suit the environment.
Toward the rear of the building or from where the inside views across to the playing fields, Fleming designed a series of garden beds that soften the vista and embrace the black and red theme. Plants here include a selection of Phormium tenax ‘All Black’ – a species Wes discovered on his Chelsea Flower Show expeditions and imported to great success.
Other plant features here include the use of Fleming’s Nurseries Lagerstroemia Red Magic and Lagerstroemia ‘Ruffled Red’, extraordinarily bright red flowering multi-stem crepe myrtles.
“The new facility at Tullamarine has been an ongoing project for some years and it has been wonderful to be a part of its journey,” Wes enthused.
“I don’t mind coming out to plant a tree or two when I get to see Walla practice a tackle or Jake Stringer practice a few snaps at goal, I was in my element – plants and footy coming together, magical”.
“This second project has been a joy and it’s great to see the first project, featuring a sea of Casuarina glauca ‘Greenwave’ along a ridge on the far side of the oval, really looking amazing.
“The first set of gardens we did here are all flourishing and I cannot wait to see what this new site will be like in a few years’ time. I always believe that the soft landscape looks its worst on day one and only improves, where built form is the opposite and only degrades form the day it’s built.
Wes said he felt the entry feature and Welcome to Country garden where particularly special.
“I really enjoyed developing these gardens and even jumped on a shovel myself I enjoyed it so much. I also like the incorporation of features the club already had, such as totem poles and the Michael Long sculpture.
“There are more areas to complete in the future – the new Tullamarine facility is really quite large, but over time I can see we will leave this club with a stunning landscaped environment the players, administration and visitors will all enjoy for years to come,” Wes said.