Greta Stonehouse goes digging around for dirt on Australia’s most prolific flower show, Canberra’s Floriade.

“The most asked question at Floriade is about the English daisies, which look like little buttons – people always want to know what they are.”

The event’s head gardener Andrew Forster answers one of the most burning questions surrounding Floriade to date, and if anyone knows their tulips from their daisies it’s this guy.

Floriade, held in Canberra’s Commonwealth Park, is the largest flower show in the Southern Hemisphere. In 2013 alone almost 450,000 thousand people attended. In 2014 more than one million flowers and 70 different kinds of bulbs will be making up the show and it made us wonder, how does such a mind-boggling amount of flowers come together. Surely Canberra’s Garden of Eden is hiding some skeletons in its soil.

Forster explains that Floriade is not an “exotic display” of flowers or a native homage to our backyard bloomers, the mix of tulips, daisies and pansies are chosen because they can bloom for the September to October 30-day period.

Even though the flowers bloom for the show’s entirety “the second week of Floriade is a great time to come and check out Floriade. The gardens are usually at their peak at this time,” says Andrew.

During the 27 years Floriade has been running, surprisingly no flowerbeds have fallen victim to viruses or random plagues of exotic bugs. In fact, the only skeleton to be found in this garden bed is the odd orange tulip in amongst a bed of red ones.

If your garden bed is in need of a few tulips or daisies you might want to consider volunteering next year because when the gates finally close in October all the flowers are distributed amongst the volunteers, nursery homes and hospital garden beds.

Floriade runs between 13 September and 12 October in 2014 at the Commonwealth Park in Canberra.

Four Floriade faves…

Floriade spokeswoman Adelina La Vita is wrapped about a number of celebrity faces making an appearance this year. She says …

1. Floriade favourite Barry Du Bois is returning for the second year – I can’t wait to see what DIY tricks he has up his sleeve.

2. Bindi Irwin’s Wildlife Warriors presentations will attract huge crowds – she really is an inspiring young Australian.

3. Miguel Maestre will no doubt be an absolute charmer and his Spanish cooking demonstrations should be fantastic.

4. I’m really interested to hear what Indira Naidoo has to say about gardening in small spaces. Her book, The Edible Balcony, is a great read.



While you’re in Canberra…