A city in bloom: flower show has visitors buzzing

Garden Show
A woman admires the spectacular floral displays in the Royal Exhibition Building. All pictures by Katie Wong Hoy.

With a Disney garden for the kids and a display celebrating the ANZACs, the annual Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show has brought out the big guns for its 20th anniversary.

By KATIE WONG HOY

Vibrant colours, stunning floral displays and sweet aromas are creating a magical atmosphere at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show at Carlton Gardens.

Better Homes and Gardens
Celebrity gardening expert Graham Ross.

The largest horticultural show in the southern hemisphere attracts garden fans from around the world, with more than 110,000 visitors expected to attend over the five days.

Celebrity gardening expert and Better Homes and Gardens star Graham Ross, who has attended MIFGS nearly every year since it opened in 1995, said there had been significant improvements over the years.

“The quality of the plants, the quality of the design and the skill of the tradesmen and women has improved dramatically since the first MIFGS,” Ross said.

“A lot of the companies that used to sell nasty chemicals, they’ve gone … the organic crop protectants, they wouldn’t have been here 20 years ago.”

Sylvia Clark travelled from Sydney to attend for the first time this year, after visiting a number of flower shows around the world.

Gold Medal Winner: The display "Resonate" won the gold medal for best show garden.
The display “Resonate” won the gold medal for best show garden.

“We went to the Chelsea Flower Show and we also did Gardens of the World and we decided that perhaps we ought to come down and see part of Australia,” Ms Clark said.

“[There are] not quite as many flowers … but I do like the displays and I particularly like the Anzac Garden display.”

Genevieve McCaskill from Flowers Victoria says the show allowed people to appreciate flowers in a more personal way.

“We’re creating an interactive consumer experience so they can come and smell and feel and be part of a garden,” Ms McCaskill said.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The garden show appeals to people of all ages. There is a Disney garden for the children, floral exhibits, landscaping stalls and of course plenty of plants. For many visitors it is an opportunity to meet gardening experts and find answers to problems ranging from pest troubles to flower arranging.

While the event has proven to be highly successful over the past 20 years, Mr Ross said it was only going to get better in years to come.

“It’s an international standard show … I’ve got meetings with the Federal Government in June this year and I’m going to be talking about bringing more people from overseas here … so I think we will see more of that in the future.”

The garden show finishes tomorrow, Sunday, March 29.