Floriade 2014

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FLORIADE first began when Peter Sutton and his colleague, landscape designer Chris De Bruine, developed a proposal for a grand floral display to celebrate Australia’s bicentenary and Canberra’s 75th birthday.

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Floriade comes from the Latin word floriat, which means to design with flowers.

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Floriade started in 1988 and due to the success and popularity of the event, it has run every year since then with each year having a new theme and is currently the largest flower festival in the Southern Hemisphere.

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Floriade’s major focus is flowers, but lots of other activities take place around the stunning floral displays. Enjoy culinary demonstrations by world-renowned chefs, learn a thing or two about gardening and horticulture, listen to live music or pat a few cute and cuddly animals at the petting zoo.

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Floriade became even more fabulous in 2008 when it introduced NightFest: an after-dark extravaganza that unfolds over five nights, transforming the park into an illuminated wonderland filled with fun and frivolity.  Unfortunately, I missed the NightFest on both the occasions I visited Floriade.

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Floriade’s quirkiest element is the Gnome Knoll.  Admire thousands of decorated garden gnomes that not only vie for prizes but help the Rotary Club of Canberra East raise money for a range of community projects.

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It takes months of planning to build the temporary flowerbeds, pathways and infrastructure. Gardening teams vary the times that flowers bloom throughout the month by planting bulbs at different depths.

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During the festival, gardeners keep the flowers looking their best by removing deadheads, reshaping garden beds and monitoring the soil’s pH, salt and nutrient levels.

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When Floriade comes to an end, its flowers are put to good use.  The remaining blooms are cut and sent to local hospitals and nursing homes so that even more people can enjoy their beauty.

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No wonder the event is also called “Australia’s Celebration of Spring”.

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A few other attractions at the park

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A few more clicks on our way to Canberra !!

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Which brings me to the end of this post.

From Sydney, Canberra is a 55-minute flight, three-hour drive or four-and-a-half-hour train ride.  The Floriade is held every year at the Commonwealth Park overlooking Lake Burley Griffin.

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Mandarins !!!

I must first apologize for not having been active last couple of months.  Its partly due to a personal commitment which restricted my crazy travel weekends.

But, having said that, the coming months look exciting with quite a few road trips planned which means more areas to be explored and more pics to be expected.  Yay !!!

This one is going to be a very short post where I share my experience in Mandarin picking.  Its a first for me and I was so excited in anticipation of what lies ahead of me.

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I went to a place called ‘Ford’s Farm’ which specializes in Mandarin picking.  They are situated on the banks of the Hawkesbury river, close to ‘Wiseman Ferry’.  IMG_3230 They have the following varieties of madarins at their farm.  1) Imperial Mandarins 2) Satsuma 3) Emperor 4) Hickson 5) Cumquats.  In addition to that they also have lime and lemons.  But during the time I visited there were only 3 varieties available – Imperial, Satsumas and Cumquats.

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The Imperial mandarin tree is a large evergreen shrub that produces fruits with a pale smooth skin.  It has glossy green dense foliage and perfumed white flowers, which are followed by edible fruit.

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This is followed by the Satsuma Mandarins.  It is a seedless and easy-peeling citrus fruit.  One of the distinguishing features of the satsuma is the thin, leathery skin dotted with large and prominent oil glands, enabling it to be peeled very easily in comparison to other mandarin varieties.

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Finally, the cumquats.  This edible fruit closely resembles that of the orange, but is much smaller and ovular, being approximately the size and shape of a large olive!.

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The farm charges $2 a kilo for Imperial and Satsuma mandarins and $10 for the Cumquats.  The good thing is that you are allowed to taste them whilst picking.  I managed to gobble nearly a dozen of them !!!.

On my way back, I decided to take a detour via Wiseman Ferry to experience the fun of riding a ferry while you are still seated inside the car.  It was a very short ride approximating 3-4 minutes.

The detour fortunately took me through some of the scenic drives and with the autumn in full effect, I saw a mirage of colors ranging from red, yellow to purple and brown.

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That was an eventful day and the drive back home was even more enjoyable.  As promised earlier, my next post will be filled with colors and I will just give a hint of what’s to come. “Tulipa”.