Each year, Canberrans and visitors alike are wowed by the flower installation that is Floriade. This year, the event promises to be no exception.
With ‘pop culture’ announced as the theme, Floriade’s organisers have been hard at work preparing another festival program full of entertainment, activities and, of course, flowers.
Floriade’s Head Gardener, Andrew Forster, says preparations have been in full swing since February this year, when the plans are typically received from the designers. In March, the team were busy cutting pathways, putting in drainage and marking out the designs. The planting of the bulbs started in April.
“Normally we would plant in April and be finished by early June. The whole planting process takes about eight weeks, from starting the first bulb to planting the last in the ground,” he says.
“When we finish planting, we’re tending them, we’re fertilising them and we do soil tests to see what nutrients the plants need. We are just tending them to make sure they’re looking good for the opening day.”
Andrew says the Floriade team have planted one million bulbs and annuals for this year’s festival.
“We plant bulbs and under-plant with the annuals so you have a mix of plants to last for the 30 days. It’s a team effort to make it all happen.
“My favourite tulips are a tulip called Adrem – a pretty orangey-rainbow colour which is really nice. The gardens down by the ferry gate are really nice this year; they’re looking really good down there. I reckon that will be a pretty good area to go to this year.”
The flowerbeds this year are ‘retro-inspired’, showcasing iconic figures in music, film, literature and social media from the 20th Century, including Marilyn Monroe, the Rubik’s Cube and Where’s Wally.
The program this year includes comedy, live music, health and wellbeing activities, exhibitions, workshops and talks, kids’ activities and even a day for the dogs.
As well as a jam-packed program, Floriade will have some of the Canberra region’s finest food and drink on offer for visitors.
Events ACT Acting Director Jo Verden says she is proud to be showcasing the region’s produce throughout the festival. Floriade has partnered with Pialligo Estate to run the café as well as high tea on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Contentious Character has signed on as the festival’s official wine partner, with local companies Capital Brewing Co. and Underground Spirits the official beer and spirits partners respectively.
“This year Floriade is more dedicated than ever to highlight the award-winning food and beverage offerings we have available in the nation’s capital.
“These partnerships also allow us to showcase what the Canberra region has on offer to our interstate and international Floriade attendees,” she says.
Floriade runs from Saturday 15 September to Sunday 14 October, at Commonwealth Park. Enjoy the flowers under the cover of darkness, with Nightfest from Wednesday 26 September to Sunday 30 September. Canberra’s pooches will take over Commonwealth Park for the ever popular Dogs Day Out for Floriade’s final day on 14 October.
For more information and the full program of events, visit floriadeaustralia.com