The Canberra Festival of Floriade was introduced in 1988, initially as part of the Bi-centenary celebrations of Australia. Floriade comes from the Latin word floriat, which means to design with flowers.
During the 1980’s, the government had been encouraging seconded public servants who had come from all around Australia, to consider settling in Canberra, even after their secondment was over. To attract more settlers a number of community festivals were introduced.
After 1988, because Floriade was one of the biggest successful festivals, it was offered on an annual basis and has lasted the test of time. Each spring for 30 days, the banks of Lake Burley Griffin are saturated in the most spectacular array of flowering bulbs and annuals.
The climate in Canberra is very conducive to growing bulbs and the organisers have embraced this fact with spectacular effect. Over 1 million bulbs and annuals are sown each year. These bulbs are usually planted in early autumn. The fact that different bulbs flower at different times creates the need to design the flower beds with a “churn over” effect. So during the 30 days, you may see different flowers appearing in the same garden beds.
The flowers that are used are predominantly bulbs and ones that produce a dazzling array of colours. Some of the bulbs and annuals used include daffodils, hyacinths, chrysanthemums, ranunculus, English Daisies and of course an immense selection of irises and tulips.
The tulips in particular are magnificent in all their multiple colour glory. Big proud stalks that have trouble supporting the heavily bulbous flower head are a pleasure to view.
To accompany the incredible landscape of Floriade a number of “by-festivals” are incorporated on site at the Commonwealth Gardens on the lakes shore. Children’s activities play a very large role in the presentation of Floriade with all manner of entertainment being offered, both from a gardening and fun aspect.
The visitors to the Floriade spectacular are encouraged to get close to the displays. It is a very family friendly atmosphere. There is lots of green space provided for family picnics and walks thoughout the area. Every day there is something different on offer to occupy the young visitors to the festival.
For those not so young, there is a plethora of stalls and installations that offer education on gardening and really anything to do with spending time in your yard.
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Floriade in the spring of 2012, even though we were there on the very last day. After 30 days of celebration, the gardens still looked delightful and we didn’t feel that we’d missed much at all.
The photos attached to this article were all taken by me. I hope you enjoy the images.