Queensland is reaping the rewards of having one of the longest-running garden events in Australia, which has injected an estimated $173 million into the local economy in 35 years.
The Queensland Garden Expo started from a grass roots event in 1984 with just 300 visitors, growing to a crowd of 40,000, of which 65 per cent come from outside the Sunshine Coast region.
There will be 360 exhibitors and displays, as well as 120 lectures and demonstrations making up a stellar three-day event on the Sunshine Coast between 12 and 14 July.
The who’s who of gardening from across Australia will keep the crowds entertained with the likes of Sophie Thomson from Adelaide, Paul West from Melbourne and Brisbane’s Annette McFarlane and Jerry Coleby-Williams to name a few, all hosting talks and sharing their tricks of the trade.
Gardening guru Jerry Coleby-Williams comes back year after year and said the show itself is the second largest gardening event in Australia.
“If you’re looking for expertise, new techniques and tips, then this is an unmissable event,” said Mr Coleby Williams.
“Every gardening event is different and this one is for the families of gardening. It’ll be one big celebration and I’m really looking forward to being there.”
Queensland Garden Expo Event Manager Marion Beazley said new speaker and entomologist Dr Tim Heard has one of the sweetest subjects, letting backyard gardeners in on the secrets of stingless beekeeping and delving into how bees can improve our lives in more ways than one.
Paul West, known for his role as the host of “River Cottage Australia” and ABC’s “The Great Australian Bee Challenge”, will be showcasing how to grow your own backyard garden and enjoying the fruits of your labour in the kitchen.
“While bees aren’t on the agenda for Paul, his top tips on ‘garden to table’ simple cooking are once again expected to fill the marquee,” said Ms Beazley.
“We also expect a great level of interest in our Landscape Garden Competition where several landscapers work hard in the week leading up to the Expo to transform a simple patch of grass into a beautiful themed garden. It’s inspirational to see what they can achieve in one week and they are all hoping to win the much-coveted trophy.”
Our Living Backyard zone is always popular too and provides all you need to know to create a bio-diverse environment in your backyard. Whether you want to attract frogs, birds, butterflies, bees or other wildlife you will get all the tips and a whole lot more.”
Loyal visitors are a testament to the quality of the award-winning event, with people visiting from outside the region and as far as New Zealand.
“We are proud to have won several awards including the Queensland Tourism and Events Awards, a Queensland Parks and Leisure Award and just recently the Queensland winner of the Australian Events Award,” said Ms Beazley.
Green thumbs will be able to get their hands dirty with the new Sunday Sessions which includes a number of workshops including creating floral arrangements, succulent bowls, and fairy gardens.
“The feedback we get is that people love to learn new skills and create things at the expo,” Ms Beazley said.
Being self-sufficient and learning about sustainable gardening has also been a huge drawcard since the inaugural expo. The Kitchen Garden feature, first introduced in 2003, is continuing to attract significant interest.
“Over recent years there has been a significant increase in the awareness of the nutritional benefits of home grown organic produce and also the environmental impacts of reducing food miles,” said Ms Beazley.
“Reducing and eliminating pesticides is top of mind for many gardeners and the event has plenty of information to assist in achieving a sustainable healthy lifestyle.”
This event is not just for the avid gardeners, there is plenty for the budding green thumbs too. Kids can enjoy crafts, seed planting and a free playground.
“The hard work and dedication from the team to make the 35th anniversary stand out, will certainly shine through,” said Ms Beazley.
The 2019 Queensland Garden Expo will be held between 12 and 14 July at the Nambour Showgrounds, Coronation Avenue, Nambour. To find out more about the event, view the speaker program and purchase tickets online, please visit www.qldgardenexpo.com.au.
Fast facts — Queensland Garden Expo 2019
- Three-day event
- 40,000-plus attendees
- 360-plus exhibitors and displays including 55 nurseries
- 120-plus free lectures and demonstrations
- Eight speaker stages