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.
Floriade comes from the Latin word floriat, which means to design with flowers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
No wonder the event is also called “Australia’s Celebration of Spring”.
A few other attractions at the park
A few more clicks on our way to Canberra !!
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.