No two days are ever the same for our resident green thumb!
Martin Conlon joined Camberwell Girls in 2014. As the School’s Landscape Gardener, he spends most of his time outside ensuring our grounds and gardens remain beautiful all year round.
He hails from Cork in southern Ireland and moved to Melbourne in 2009. With a diploma in Art History, a diploma in Horticulture and a long career in graphic design, Martin is now able to combine his passion for the outdoors with his strong knowledge of design and we the Camberwell Girls community greatly benefit.
“My design background really helps me view the landscape in terms of colour, shape and form. How things look in the garden is as important to me as how things grow,”
Gardens connect us with the land and with nature. They remind us that there are seasons, that nature needs time to grow and blossom and that patience will be rewarded. In many ways, gardens are a wonderful antidote to the fast-paced, technology driven and instant-gratification world in which we live.
“Gardening is really good for the soul and extremely rewarding. If you’re not into the physical work, just take a stroll through a nice garden and you’ll notice colour and texture. And, they are important islands of habitat for wildlife in our increasingly built up and built over environment,” he says.
The School’s gardens change seasonally, and if you’re looking really closely, Martin says – daily. A large role, with two schools to maintain, no two days are ever the same for our resident Irishman.
He ensures all existing gardens are maintained to the highest standards, that any seasonal issues are anticipated and responses prepared. From planting to pruning, weeding to watering, Martin plans all aspects of our gardens to make a complete and effective ecosystem.
He’s also responsible for lawn mowing and tasks such as line marking the oval and keeping paths clean. His favourite task is, of course, designing new gardens or totally renovating an existing garden space.
“I have a particular fondness for designing new gardens and then planting them up. Seeing the gardens conform to the original design idea and thrive is a bonus. But… if I’m honest, I am not so keen on cutting grass, except if I’m on the Toro mower! Grass takes up valuable space that I could otherwise fill with plants,” he says.
Martin’s inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere. He’s constantly reading and researching and he visits nurseries regularly.
“More often than not I plan new gardens on my Mac. It lets me experiment with ideas before I start digging holes in the school grounds,” he says.
And, he’s quick to add, “Oh, I hate when it rains heavily because I can’t garden. That’s really boring.”
Besides heavy rain, the only other frustration for Martin is that gardens can take a long time to get them to where he wants them to be.