Australias best nurseries recognised at national awards

WA took out three major categories when Australia's best nurseries and garden centres were honoured at the annual Nursery and Garden Industry Association awards in Sydney last week.

Fremantle-based Josh Byrne & Associates won the best greenlife infrastructure award for its transformation of the Perth Cultural Centre, which now includes the popular Urban Orchard community garden, an urban wetland and a nature-based playground. The entire centre was designed to help reduce pollution, increase workplace productivity and provide locals with a place to escape from the bustling city.

"It is a great example of public-space rejuvenation and it was exciting to have the lead design on a project with such creative scope," Byrne said of the project. "Full credit goes to the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority for having the vision to do something different.

"We are particularly proud of the Urban Orchard, which has been so well embraced by the community who regularly participate in the planting and harvest days. It's a shining example of how food production and multifunctional civic space can co-exist."

Association chief executive Robert Prince said the project was recognised for its exciting and ambitious approach to creative place making and integration of innovative landscape design. "We heartily congratulate Josh and his team for this excellent achievement," he said. "The industry's goal is to significantly increase outdoor greenlife over the next six years and this project is a positive step towards that vision and provides the community with much-needed green space."

Another WA award went to seven-time winner Zanthorrea Nursery in Maida Vale, named best specialty garden centre, while Alcoa's Marrinup Nursery received the best propagation nursery award.

Mr Prince said judges were impressed with the standard and quality of entries this year and he applauded winners for displaying exceptional environmental leadership. "We can enjoy less pollution and increased workplace productivity, and it's all thanks to our hardworking nurseries and garden centres," he said.

Jessica Rule

The West Australian

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