Michelle had an inspiring trip to the renaissance gardens of Northern Italy, June/July 2016. Areas visited included the Villas of Lake Como. Here she visited several famous Villas: Villa Carlotta, Villa Monestero, Villa Cipressi, and Villa Balbiannello. The region of Tuscany including Lucca and Florence and the gardens of Villa Medicea di Castello, Villa Gamtenaia and the Boboli Gardens. Of particular interest was the design and structure utilising the natural contours of the property. Inspiration was taken from the peeps taken through wrought iron gates into the privacy of the gardens beyond. Raspberry hydrangeas, flowering hibiscus, bougainvillea, with canopies of olives were a highlight.
24 Sep 2016
We were hand-picked by one of Houzz writers to be featured in an editorial ideabook on the homepage of Houzz. See it here: " 13 Cosy Ways to Wrap Up Your Home for Winter" and Picture Perfect: 29 Reasons to Love Cherry Blossom Season Whether you're enjoying them in New Zealand or around the world, 'tis the season to revel in drifts of soft pink blooms carpeting the ground
24 Sep 2016
Michelle was featured in the October Edition of NZ House and Garden along with other talented gardeners on what makes their gardens special in this happiest of seasons
20 Sep 2015 - David McDonnell
Michelle Designed a show garden at 'The Lakes' as part of the Tauranga Garden & Art Festival 2014. GAF Patrons could relax in this little 'oasis' where lots of displays, concept gardens, and floral art were created to make a festival 'hub'.
08 Sep 2015 - David McDonnell
Gardens by the Bay is a park spanning 101 hectares of reclaimed land in central Singapore. Michelle visited the park in July 2015 and visited the three world renown waterfront gardens. Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden
01 Aug 2015 - Michelle McDonnell
Michelle McDonnell's own garden was featured in the July issue of New Zealand House and Garden magazine.
Click here to read the .pdf of the full article.
26 Aug 2014
Ron & Rachael Smith's garden was featured in the July issue of New Zealand House and Garden magazine.
Click here to read the .pdf of the full article.
26 Aug 2014
As well as being a trustee for the Garden and Artfest, Michelle has designed and constructed a rooftop garden in tauranga's CBD for the duration of the festival. And she was part of the speaker series seminars with her topic of space saving gardens. She is also well represented in the Garden Fest, with many open gardens designs of hers.
08 Nov 2012
Michelle will be speaking as part of the speaker series held on Saturday 03 November 2012. The topic Michelle will be speaking on is there's always room. This looks at tips for how to achieve that dream garden in a small
10 Sep 2012
I have just returned from a fantastic tour of Gardens in England, France and Portugal. What a fabulous time I had and so many photos. The gardens were great and I learnt so much from each one. My trip included visits to the following: The Garden Museum (London), Chelsea flower show (2 days!!), Chelsea Physic garden, Hampton Court Palace, visit to John and Sue Speirs (from Tauranga) at Knightcote, Warwickshire, Stowe, Hidecote, Compton Verney, Lord Leycester garden, Kew Gardens, Wisley, Great Dixter, Sissinghurst, Beth Chatto garden, Rosemary Alexanders garden and Chiswick. While staying in Paris I attended two garden shows, one in Paris - Jardins Jardin and one in the Loire valley- Chateau de Chaumont. Portugal gardens (Lisbon) were spectacular and I visited Sintra, Monserrata Palacio, Palacio de Pene, Palacio de Marqueses de Fronteira and Palacio de Queluz. I have come back excited to put some of what I have learnt into gardens here. European gardens with a New Zealand twist!!
22 Jul 2012 - Michelle McDonnell
25 Garden designers visited the beautiful BOP for three days and I had the pleasure to organise their tour. The weather was fantastic, the gardens all fabulous and the food (and wine) great!!. The 25 designers were from around NZ with most coming from Auckland. They all had an enjoyable time and learnt a bit about what is available in our region. It is not called the Bay of Plenty for nothing!! The visit included Standards of Excellence, Incredible Edibles, Kilarney Stone, The Adams beautiful property, The Lakes, Ace Mondo, Mills Reef winery, Janine Tait and Kevin Pearces courtyard garden. Great weekend was had by all.
22 Jun 2012
Michelle attended the 2011 Auckland Garden Designfest recently. Twenty four gardens in total-professionally designed by NZ's leading contemporary garden designers. A broad cross section of styles were seen in the Auckland sub-tropical climate. The garden designers were on hand to discuss their varying styles.
22 Nov 2011
In late November Michelle visited one of Australias leading Landscape Designer's garden - Paul Bangay's Stonefields property on the outskirts of Melbourne. This is an example of a garden with all the elements of good design. Visiting many gardens of award winning landscape designers Michelle is challenging herself with new ideas, creations and styles to adapt to a New Zealand environment.
01 Dec 2009
I have just returned from five days in Auckland to attend the New Zealand Landscape and Garden Design conference 2009. This conference is held every two years, starting in NZ and then continues on to Australia to repeat. The first day was a garden tour where three bus loads of delegates were transported around various parts of Auckland to view private gardens. Most had never been open to the public before - some have been showcased in various magazines - all were wonderful! Designed by various landscape designers - they spoke to us about the reasoning behind some of the garden design. At some, the architects talked to us too. Our tour ended with a wine at Ayrlies, the garden of Bev McConnell, this is one of New Zealand s most beautiful country garden. Day Two and Three were packed with outstanding overseas speakers with a diverse range of topics ranging from 'Current trends' by Rosemary Alexander, 'Sustainable Cities' combining 'Green roofs' by Edmund Snodgrass, 'Mud Houses' and 'Dry Gardens' in Morocco by Eric Ossart, to work by Roberto Burle Marx and also by Marta Montero to name a few. All had an outstanding passion and this was conveyed in the various compelling talks each one produced They kept us all entertained and wanting to know more about the various aspects of their wide ranging work. It made me feel proud to be involved with such a dynamic group who are looking to the future of garden design and landscapes and all which that encompasses. Day Four and Five I spent back at school with Rosemary Alexander, Principal of the London School of Design based at London Physic garden. This was a Master class attended by only 30 of us. The class was both theory and practical for garden design and plant selection in a New Zealand context. Rosemary is a real character and after reviewing the process over the two days and buying her books for reference it felt great to remember why we do the Garden design process. The Conference was a great experience, catching up with colleagues and friends within the industry and making new ones. It made me feel very proud to be involved with such a vibrant group of individuals all working to make this world a better place and leaving it(hopefully) in a better place than when we found it. I will certainly be attending the next one in two years time..
07 Oct 2009 - Michelle McDonnell
'Cobbleman' designed by Michelle McDonnell and constructed by Ultimate Landscape's Bryans brothers welcomes visitors to the 2009 'Bay of Plenty Times Home & Garden Expo'. He is 'totally unique - a point of difference' said Michelle. The article featuring in The Bay of Plenty Times on Thursday 3rd September described the exhibit having each piece of stone 'sawn to perfection'.
04 Sep 2009
After editor Lynda Hallinan from 'New Zealand Gardner' visited Tauranga for the Bayleys Garden & Art Festival in 2008 she wanted to meet the designer behind some of the gardens that featured. This included Michelle's own garden that was open for the festival. Monique Balvert-O'Connor profiles the garden that is family friendly, yet is structured through mass planting of selected varieties and clever layering. This was featured in the April 2009 edition of New Zealand Gardner
01 Apr 2009
North Island Garden of the month. Claire and Mike Nicholson's garden has it all-contemporary style, a citrus grove and a kunekune called Taz!
09 Feb 2009 - David McDonnell
In January's Edition of "New Zealand Gardener" Michelle is featured in a section dedicated to "25 vege garden ideas". It includes designer inspiration for edible gardens. This follows on from Michelle's success at the 2008 Bayleys Garden and Artfest. It profiles some of the vege tips that Michelle incorporated into the design that made up the intricate rustic victorian plot built by Ultimate Landscapes.
09 Jan 2009
Michelle McDonnell's Victorian Garden was announced as the winner of the Bayleys Garden and Artfest 2008, show garden category at the opening ceremony on Monday 10th of November 2008. 'Walk through the Ages' Gardens, Lakes Project, November 10 - Saturday 16 November. This is a combined garden with Ultimate Landscapes. There are six 9x9m plots with a path running through each, depicting the change in vegetable gardens through the ages. Each designer has a plot and an era to convey. Our garden is based on the Victorian Vegetable garden, showing how it would have looked when the English immigrants arrived in New Zealand to start the new world . The vegetables have all been grown by heirloom seed and most of the products have been sourced from the bush.
11 Nov 2008 - Michelle McDonnell
A successful collaboration showcasing the work of both Michelle McDonnell Landscape design and Garden Pod Landscape Design and Construction. This formal Italian inspired design included layered hedging, topiary, outdoor furniture with hints of pink - including pink washed pavers and a poodle with pink toenails. This design took the gold medal award.
11 May 2008 - Michelle McDonnell