The Chelsea Experience with Fleming's Nurseries - Jason Hodges

Jenny Butler
Jenny Butler
22nd of May 2012

Today we meet Jason Hodges, the designer of the 2012 Fleming's Chelsea Flower Show entry. You might recognise Jason from his role on Better Homes and Gardens, and it's great to find out more about this garden guru today. As part of this week's Chelsea Experience, Fleming's have offered to give away 5 copies of their Fleming's Fruit and Ornamental Tree Guide - simply leave a comment before 10pm on Thursday, the winners will be drawn at random and announced on Friday. - Jenny x

Flemings Chelsea Flower Show entry from last year- this years designer Jason Hodges has a lot to live up to!

Jason Hodges grew up in Willoughby, Sydney and always had a passion for gardening, landscaping and the great outdoors in general. He completed Landscape Horticulture and Construction at Ryde Tafe, NSW, which he enjoyed so much, he later taught the course at the very same TAFE. He is best known today as the resident landscaper and garden guy on Better Homes and Gardens. He has attended the Chelsea Flower Show a few years running as part of the BHG team and interviewed the winning Aussies each year. He has had a number of Gold Medals at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show and is a talented garden designer in his own right. Jason is Fleming’s eighth designer to present at the Chelsea Flower Show. - Wes

Happy snaps of Jason Hodges and Wes Flemming sourcing plants for their Chelsea Flower Show garden from February this year- can you tell Jason LOVES his job?!

What sparked your interested in horticulture and how has that influenced your work?

I have been working with gardens my entire life thanks to my dad Monty. Dad was a builder and I looked up to him very much, he was a down to earth bloke and I have a huge respect for him as a person and mentor – he has inspired me throughout my life.

My design values stem from the things my dad taught me growing up – the principles of building and a practical approach, combined with my love of gardens and plants that I inherited from my mum Della – the things all gardens need to have. What a lot of people don’t know about me is that I do have a career and life outside of Better Homes and Gardens. Don’t get me wrong, I know I am very lucky to have the role on BHG – and it has been an amazing ride with media since I started with Auction Squad, but I also love my business 'Green Art Gardens'.

I was born and raised in Sydney and I have to say most of my inspiration comes from this city, the places I grew up around Willoughby. and of course the Aussie way of life.   I have tried to incorporate as much of that as possible into this design – especially because I reckon this is one of the best chances I will ever have to showcase my belief that Aussies have it so good in our gardens!

Could you tell us a bit about this years 2012 Flemings 2012 Chelsea Flower Show entry?

It has everything you need in an Aussie Garden… and then some!  We love to live in our outdoor spaces, so it had to have entertaining spaces, somewhere to eat, somewhere for the kids to play, somewhere to cook a BBQ, or bake a pizza, somewhere to shower off after a dip in the plunge pool, and somewhere to read a book and unwind. It also has to have lots of green. Plants and lush greenery are soothing and calming – and this garden will have plants in spades. As well as my favourite trees - palms.

We sourced these palms in Spain and Italy and its been very nerve wracking waiting for them to arrive – but they have, and despite a few issue with some of the fronds they're in amazing shape – phew!

Top - a rendering of the 2012 Flemings Chelsea Flower Show design by Jason, bottom - the arrival and planting of the palms just a few days ago!

I find palms reflective of so many of my favourite places in Australia – whether its St Kilda and the Esplanade in Melbourne, around the Harbour in Sydney and all across Queensland’s coastal areas – they just make me feel happy.

As I grow and develop as a designer it’s becoming extremely important to me to make gardening cost effective and accessible – so I reuse lots of materials that can be found almost anywhere.  My MIFGS garden this year was all about that, and although this garden isn’t as strong on reused materials, I have used the corrugated iron from my own place – so it’s possible to demonstrate that slick, attractive design can come from materials we often think are waste.

Hope you enjoy the final design on Friday, and that there are some elements that you might be able to use in your own garden, no matter how big or small.

- Jason

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