Carlisle Landscape Designer Wins Major Awards
by Carlisle Homes
Learn the touching story behind Mark Browning’s award-winning garden ‘Aud’ at MIFGS 2022!
You’ve no doubt seen the beautiful work of award-winning landscape designer Mark Browning when visiting our display homes – Mark has been wielding his magic for Carlisle Homes for the last 12 years, designing close to 500 of our incredible display home gardens! So, we were thrilled to see his talents recognised at the 25th Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (MIFGS) earlier this year, where he won two major awards for his show garden ‘Aud’ – the Silver Gilt Medal and the Mark Bence Award for Best Construction.
But this year’s MIFGS garden, Aud, held special meaning for Mark. It was designed in tribute to his mother Audrey, a passionate gardener who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease in her later years. “My mother was my primary inspiration in choosing my career path,” says Mark. “Mum died in 2018 with Alzheimer’s disease after nine years of confusion and various health issues – she was 91. I partnered up with Dementia Australia and various other contributors and suppliers early in 2019, and Carlisle enthusiastically threw in their support just before we started building Aud.
“My mother was a very keen gardener, although not necessarily a brilliant one,” he says with a chuckle. “Aud was a deliberately cluttered garden, packed to the brim with over 1000 mixed and varied plantings – just as my mother’s gardens were. And the layout was irregular, with bluestone walling, shards, steps, and feature boulders.
“I designed a simple pavilion – the sort of thing mum would have enjoyed having her morning cup of tea in. The big hit with showgoers were its chainmail curtains!” he says.
Creating this garden, and then seeing the positive response from both the public and the judges, was healing for Mark. “Aud brought a lot of closure. Like many of us middle-aged orphans, I have been critical of myself for not being a better son; I should have gone to the nursing home more often, and I should have done more of lots of things. I had the amazing experience of many of Mum and Dad’s friends making the effort to come to MIFGS just to see my take on my mother’s memory, which was very humbling. I also thoroughly enjoyed sharing my story about the ‘avant gardener’ I grew up with.
“But most of all, I relished the opportunity to help Dementia Australia spread their message to over 100,000 show visitors. I hope everyone who saw Aud took away that gardening is a joy, an escape from the rigours of everyday life and, most importantly, a great way to fight the climate war,” says Mark.
We wish to congratulate Mark for receiving these awards, and for his beautiful and touching tribute to his mother Audrey, while spreading the important messages of Dementia Australia.