Story and Photos: Shirley Bolton (Canberra Organic – Summer 2020)

Canberrans are all garden lovers at heart. Who doesn’t love Canberra’s Floriade program, as we have known it for many years? However, with the COVID-19 hiccup, the traditional Floriade had to be cancelled. Not to be outdone by a virus, the wonderful organisers of this program put their heads together and created ‘Floriade: Reimagined’. This new iteration of Floriade created a trail of colour and joy across all of the Australian Capital Territory, as never seen before. Some displays were created by the Floriade team, with many others created by small and larger community groups such as COGS’ Kambah community garden!

Two wheelbarrows filled with Floriade bulbs

Floriade: Reimagined publicised an offer for community groups and organisations to seek a donation of annuals and bulbs. Knowing that we had two, flat-wheeled, leaky old clapped-out wheelbarrows, we decided to apply for sufficient flowers to plant in the two barrows. That equated to less than 2 square metres. We were given 200 English daisies and 54 tulip bulbs. It was such a generous donation, but — dilemma — where to plant so many?

This generous donation set off a scurry of activity in our garden, with members purchasing potting mix and kindly donating it and other members donating and lending pots and large planters. In the end, we had more pots and planters and potting mix than bulbs and annuals, so, this encouraged and enthused our members to buy additional flower seedlings and bulbs, and so our small contribution to Floriade: Reimagined grew. Despite wet and cloudy days, cockatoos and bugs, our displays finally bloomed and brought the beauty of spring and the spirit of Floriade right into our garden.

Because there was a lot of wet days during the 5-week period of Floriade we didn’t receive as many visitors as expected, however, many who walked past our fence line stopped and admired our beautiful display of flowers. Our garden plots were also looking amazing during this period. All the credit goes to our wonderful members who, as a group, consistently work together to maintain a combined garden that is a credit to each Kambah member and to COGS.

Floriade Reimagined at Kambah community garden