The Garden City’s Carnival of Flowers

Last Friday Toowoomba’s Carnival of Flowers opened. Toowoomba, which is affectionately known as The Garden City, is a city in the Darling Downs region of Queensland, on the crest of the Great Dividing Range. It is known for the Cobb & Co Museum, with its horse-drawn carriages and it’s annual flower festival. The Carnival of flowers attracts large crowds through the regional town during this period to pay witness to the spectacular garden displays made up of 176, 030 seedlings, the plant society exhibitions and much, much more.


Margaret Street adorned with flowers
Margaret Street adorned with flowers In the streets and

This was my first visit to Toowoomba’s Carnival of Flowers. I have always enjoyed the Spring festivals throughout Sydney’s CBD and in Canberra so when a new friend found out I was florist, and suggested I check it out….I did.

On Wednesday I made the drive from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast to Toowoomba and set up our base directly across the road from Queens Park, a central attraction within the Carnival. Sadly, if I had made it here over the opening weekend, I am told that a full Carnival of rides and show bags would have greeted me,  however by the time I arrived, only the evidence of stalls and arenas remained. Nevertheless, the spirit of the carnival spilled out throughout the town with gorgeous displays sprinkled everywhere. Ergon Energy also created a new event this year which we enjoyed in central Queen’s Park, a light display and art installation enjoyed after dark.

Margaret Street adorned with flowers
Margaret Street adorned with flowers

Queens Park, is a heritage listed open park space that sits adjacent to Toowoomba’s Botanic Gardens, arranged in a L shape between Margaret Street, Lindsay Street and Hume Street. The Botanic Gardens are a more formal manicured space, where a large portion of the Carnival’s displays are set up.A large Ferris Wheel is in situ, allowing you to view the gorgeous garden displays from the best vantage point.

Queens Park entrance, Hume Street side
Queens Park entrance, Hume Street side


Queens Park central display from viewing platform
Queens Park central display from viewing platform
Queens Park central display with urban elements
Queens Park central display with urban elements
Queens Park major display
Queens Park major display
Carnival of Flowers, Toowoomba used more than 176,000 seedlings
Carnival of Flowers, Toowoomba used more than 176,000 seedlings
Toowoomba's Botanic Gardens includes some formal gardens
Toowoomba’s Botanic Gardens includes some formal gardens
Toowoomba's Botanic Gardens includes some formal gardens
TCOF Garden beds in Queens Park
Gardens were planted in interesting shapes and patterns which were spectacular to view from the ferris wheel
Gardens were planted in interesting shapes and patterns which were spectacular to view from the ferris wheel
Good old favourites like pansies, and snap dragons featured throughout the carnival
Good old favourites like pansies, and snap dragons featured throughout the carnival
Colours were blocked throughout the Carnival of Flowers making displays even more spectacular from the Ferris wheel.
Colours were blocked throughout the Carnival of Flowers making displays even more spectacular from the Ferris wheel.
Toowoomba's carnival of flowers used more than 176,000 seedlings
Toowoomba’s carnival of flowers used more than 176,000 seedlings


Another key area within the Carnival is Laurel Bank Park, a gorgeous manicured park space within the CBD complete with a playground for the kids, carefully cut topiary trees, a edible garden, and a Japanese themed garden as well. The manicured ‘Thomas’ train topiary is a great hit with kids.

We only had a couple of days at the Carnival and we were kept very busy. You could certainly spend a several days here looking around and enjoying the gorgeous town. There are various walking tours on offer and a free shuttle bus available to take you from Park to Park. The Carnival ends on September 30th, so if you can’t make it there this year, may I suggest you add it to your bucket list, you won’t regret it.

Enjoy the pictures 🌸🌹🌼🌿🌺🌷🌻🌴

Fwf x

Laurel Bank Park features carefully cut topiary trees in various shapes
Laurel Bank Park features carefully cut topiary trees in various shapes
Laurel Bank Park's Thomas topiary
Laurel Bank Park’s Thomas topiary

Laurel Bank Park, Toowoomba

Japanese Garden, Laurel Bank Park
Japanese Garden, Laurel Bank Park
Laurel Bank Park, Toowoomba during the Carnival of Flowers, 2018
Laurel Bank Park, Toowoomba during the Carnival of Flowers, 2018
Lawn mower topiary, Laurel Bank Park
Lawn mower topiary, Laurel Bank Park
Sydney's Opera House topiary, Laurel Bank Park, Toowoomba
Sydney’s Opera House topiary, Laurel Bank Park, Toowoomba
Gardens outside of the Croquet Club at Laurel Bank Park, Toowoomba
Gardens outside of the Croquet Club at Laurel Bank Park, Toowoomba
Laurel Bank Park, is a key area in Toowoomba's Carnival of Flowers
Laurel Bank Park, is a key area in Toowoomba’s Carnival of Flowers
A variety of topiary line the Space at Laurel Bank, Toowoomba
A variety of topiary line the Space at Laurel Bank, Toowoomba

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Bring on Spring

After a dreary winter, and one of the worst cold and flu season’s ON RECORD, I know I am not alone in saying ‘Bring on Spring’. Apart from being an awesome time to get in your garden, the moderate Spring temperatures make it more enjoyable to be outside in general, and there are plenty of spring activities throughout Sydney to keep you busy.

In September;

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Image; David Jones

The first Spring activity on most flower lovers calendar is the David Jones Flower Show at their Elizabeth Street Flagship store. The Flower show runs from August 31st until September 10th. It is always beautifully created by a team of approximately 30 florists and takes some 10,000 hours. My tip is to get there sooner than later. Whilst the crowds are bigger in the first few days, the display does start to look tired toward the end of the show.

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A great way to spend the day outdoors is at Bondi’s annual Festival of the Winds. The festival takes place at Bondi Beach, Bondi Park and Bondi Pavillion and has something for everyone. There will be food on offer, kites for sale, kite making workshops, entertainment, jumping castles and puppet shows for the kids, and of course the sky will be full of kites. Kite flyers will WOW with their beautiful handmade creations and there is sure to be a mixture of creations; anything from flowers and animals to popular cartoon characters….the sky is the limit!

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If you are up for the drive, Floriade Canberra is a lovely (and long) day trip. Interestingly, Floriade was originally designed to be a one off flower festival to celebrate Australia’s bicentenary and Canberra’s 75th anniversary back in 1988. It was so well received that the festival has been created year after year since; this year is its 30th year, so I imagine it will be extra special. Floriade is comprised of more than a million bulbs and annuals planted across 8000 square metres.

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For something a bit different, head out to to Western Sydney’s Cabramatta on Sunday September 24th for the Moon Festival, an annual event celebrating the Southeast Asian culture and cuisine. Some 90,000 people from across Sydney join the giant street festival on John Street.  The festival runs all day long from 9am and well into the evening with entertainment, rides, cooking demonstrations, gourmet foods, market stalls and fireworks closing the evening at 8pm.

Spring has many other activities happening over the coming months, and it is also an ideal time to get out into your garden and finish up any work you may have been avoiding. Fairly soon we will start to see the temperatures soar and we all know that makes outdoor manual labour FAR more taxing, so make it your mission to get your pruning, weeding and planting done throughout September.

Florist With Flowers tip; Enjoy fresh cut flowers now while the temperatures are still moderate. Spring is a great time to enjoy the fragrant blooms that are in season whilst still getting great vase life. Flowers deteriorate with excessive draughts, heat and bacteria. Remember to change the water regularly and re-cut the stems when you do so.

Fwf x

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Countdown to Chelsea

This morning I opened up my Facebook feed to find that an old travel companion had created an installation for this years Chelsea Flower Show. Is it really that time again….already? Jo was a uni student when we met many moons ago in Central America, but she has since forged a successful career in interior design and prop styling. The display she has created for the flower show features a Sunflower garden, made entirely of fabric and paper, held together no doubt with the assistance of every tradie lady’s favourite tool, the hot glue gun.

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Image; Jo Bailey

The Chelsea Flower show runs from Tuesday May 23rd til Saturday May 27th this year and promises to provide new ideas, fresh inspiration and as always wonderful, eye catching, stunningly beautiful garden displays. In addition to 28 gardens, and 100 plant displays, this year there is also a secret garden which is only visible from a viewing platform, BBC Radio 2 Feel Good Gardens with each garden focused on heightening one of the 5 senses, a fruit and vegetable garden with over 50 varieties of edible produce, urban murals and much, much more.

The Chelsea Flower Show is certainly on the bucket list for most florists, and for those who are lucky enough to get there this year, I’m sure it won’t disappoint. As this is the first show after Brexit, the show organisers were keen to rethink the show and it certainly has been reinvigorated, with lots of fresh content which has been key in the increased interest in the event. In the past the tickets have been slow to sell with tickets even available on the day. However this year, unbelievably, the popular show sold out more than 2 weeks before it opens, and now tickets are being offered online for £1300 a pair!

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Image; Telegraph

Also this year, Dame Judi Dench is being celebrated; having a gorgeous apricot toned rose named in her honour. The rose has a medium tea scent, and is a David Austin style rose.

Judi isn’t alone though, over the years many celebrities have had roses named in their honour. Barbara Streisand, an avid rose fan, has a deliciously fragrant lilac rose named after her. Freddie Mercury fans are said to have fund raised over 2000 pounds to breed a yellow rose in his honour 2 years after his death. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William and Catherine) had a soft apricot rose that opens to white named in their honour at the show in 2011. And Julie Andrews had a rose named in her honour at the Chelsea Flower show back in 1992.

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Image; Barbara Streisand rose via Telegraph
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Image; William and Catherine Rose by David Austin

I can’t wait to see the photos emerging next week when the show opens, and I am keen to see how the public receives the new format and new features. As always, for the moment anyway I will admire the pictures from afar, but one day, maybe one day I will get there myself!

Stay tuned!

Fwf x

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Floriade for the Whole Family

At the beginning of September, Spring shows start to pop up everywhere, celebrating the start of the new season, and the notoriously beautiful selection of flowers now available.

Floriade, Australia’s biggest celebration of Spring, has been running for 28 years in the Nation’s capital, at Commonwealth Park, just outside the city centre.

For just 30 days, between September 12th and October 11th, Floriade 2015’s theme of ‘Reflection’ showcases a million flowers in bloom, creating garden beds as floral tributes to the Centenary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli. There are 14 symbols and corresponding gardens.

floriade symbols

Some of the garden beds and their respective symbols can be seen below;

red cross

‘Australian Red Cross is part of the world’s largest humanitarian movement, dedicated to preventing and alleviating human suffering. The organisation has provided aid during times of hardship and adversity – through natural disaster response and the provision of life-saving blood – since its establishment in Australia following the outbreak of the First World War. Its emblem means ‘don’t shoot’ – signifying that neutral and impartial aid is here for those in need.’

souther cross

‘The Southern Cross is a group of stars visible all year round in the southern hemisphere. One of the most distinctive patterns in the night sky, it appears on flags and insignia and is regularly honoured as a symbol of national pride and resolution for Australians.’

the rising sun


‘For more than a century, the “rising sun” motif has formed an integral part of the badge worn by Australian soldiers. These badges have become widely associated with the spirit of the Anzacs.’

Apart from Floriade’s gorgeous gardens which are obviously the main reason most people come, this year, the show has something for everyone. There is a Man’s Cave where hubby/boyfriend/friend can hide away with his fellow homeboys and have some down time in a casual bar setting.There is a great variety of eating options; Tex Mex style nachos or burritos, fish and chips, souvlaki, Turkish gozleme or South American style churrasco. Coffee stops are sprinkled throughout as well as stalls where you can get fairy floss or a stick or candied popcorn and nuts. Yum.

Kids corner caters for the younger crowd with pony cycles, face painting, a petting zoo, arts and crafts and more!

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BeFunky Collage
Images: Floriade Australia


Image; Floriade Australia

I found the Gnome Knoll hilarious and endearing. The Gnome painting is organised by the Rotary Club of Canberra East to help raise funds for their work in the community. Floriade visitors are encouraged to purchase a gnome and paint it to enter it in one of the age or group categories. There were ‘Movember’ Gnomes, Leprecauns, Anzac themed Gnomes. My personal favourite was the ‘Homeless Gnomes’ category which could be purchased (read: adopted), already painted in a somewhat haphazard style. Of course our delightful daughter decided she couldn’t live another day without a gnome of her own, only to have a complete meltdown after we purchased it but explained we wouldn’t be painting it then and there. That is one DIY project we are yet to begin….after the PDA (Public Display to gain Attention) Miss Gnome had to come home with us to attempt at a later date.

Image: Facebook via Floriade 2015 Instameet. Photo by Kazuri Photography.

For Floriade’s opening week, Floral designers were encouraged to enter in ‘Hort- Couture’, where visitors were transported through the decades with the floral fashion competition.

Hort couture 1

hort couture 2

As always there is plenty of gardening advice on offer, as well as culinary demonstrations, dance, art and dreamtime workshops, as well as roving performers throughout Commonwealth park. There is also a giant ferris wheel, a monumental slide, or take a nostalgic spin in the teacups.


Whatever you fancy, Floriade provides a fun day out for the whole family. It is still on for another few weeks, so take the opportunity to get out and enjoy the beautifully moderate springtime weather. Floriade’s Nightfest is on daily aswell and visitors can expect to see Commonwealth Park transformed with spectacular lighting displays, night markets, and entertainment (fee applies).

Image: Facebook via Floriade
Image: Facebook via Floriade
Image: Facebook via Floriade

Til next time,

Fwf x


Garden Bed Logos and significance of symbols:



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David Jones Flower Show- A florist’s inspiration

Every year I try to get there, and every year, I drool and my mind boggles over the sheer size of the job that has become truly iconic.  The David Jones Flower Show kicks off the first week of Spring and runs for just under two weeks.

After years of being in the Floristry industry, the last thing you want to do is become stale, but there will be times for every creative when the juices don’t flow and the inspiration dries up. Spring is an intensely busy time for most florists. Houses are open for sale, and weddings fill the calendar, so it is a great time to revive your sense and take some inspiration from some of our colleagues who are truly unique and talented. Anyone who works with flowers knows that really we just wander around the perimeter of the David Jones store to reinvigorate ourselves and to sap up some fresh inspiration.

The show is quite the feat, considering that a lot of those flowers are sitting in what essentially transforms to a glass hot box and is subjected to hours of sunlight each day.


This year Luminescent celebrates 30 years of the David Jones Flower show, and the ingenuity of this years show is that whilst it blooms in the daylight, the beauty of the flowers is showcased in a luminsecent ‘glow’ throughout the night as well. This years show partnered with the season’s key fragrances.

The displays in each window are as unique and intricate as ever, and as a florist I KNOW the hard work that went into conceptualising the show as well as the long hours and sleepless nights it took to bring it all together. Seed Flora is responsible for the wonderful work, and both George Low and Elizabeth Johnson continue to inspire us years after the two began collaborating on the event.

For everyone in life, it is important to stop, and look at things from a fresh perspective and for me, that is exactly what the show represents. I know how to physically put arrangements like this together, but I certainly don’t get the opportunity to do work on a large scale like this anymore with two littlies, but for me, it is awe inspiring to see someone out there creating magic. It is also reassuring to see jobs like this still exist. Retail, we are told is dying; and with that, surely the budget for a job like this, must go too.

It fills my heart with hope to see it still happening 30 years on, and still drawing an amazing crowd. Not sure that was the new light they intended to shed, but still, that is quite Luminescent.

Enjoy the picture show below, but if you get a chance, the show finishes this Sunday, so get in there to get a glimpse yourself.

Fwf x





Image: Seed Flora via Instagram
Image: Seed Flora via Instagram
Image: Seed Flora via Instagram
Image: Seed Flora via Instagram
Image: Seed Flora via Instagram
Image: Seed Flora via Instagram
Image: Seed Flora via Instagram
Image: Seed Flora via Instagram










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Chelsea Flower Show; fit for a Queen

The Queen opening the The Royal Horticulture Society’s Chelsea Flowers Show 2015 Photograph: Stuart C Wilson/AFP/Getty Images

This week, in south-west London the The Royal Horticultural Society’s annual flower show (one of the most famous shows in the world) opened and was expected to see 157,000 visitors throughout the shows five day schedule. It was held at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, where it has been since 1912.

Prior to being known as The Chelsea Flower show, it was originally known as the Royal Horticultural Society Great Spring Show, and first took place in 1862 at the RHS garden in Kensington. Even before then, the RHS held flower shows in their garden in Chiswick from as early as 1833. Sir Henry Veitch, a great nurseryman, secured the grounds of the Royal Hospital for the first show in the grounds in 1912, which was intended to have been a one-off event. But having proved such a suitable site for the show, it continued to take place on the premises almost every year til today.

Highlights of  the Chelsea Flower Show include the avant-garde show gardens designed by leading names with the Floral Marquee at the centrepiece. The Show also features smaller gardens such as the Artisan and Urban Gardens.

Awards include:

  • Flora Gardens and floral exhibits
  • Hogg Exhibits of trees
  • Knightian Exhibits of vegetables, including herbs
  • Lindley Exhibits of special educational or scientific interest
  • Grenfell Exhibits of pictures, photographs, floral arrangements.

Florist with Flowers unfortunately could not make the trip this year :-( but an old flower friend has recently moved back home to the UK and was kind enough to supply us with some pictures to drool over. Gotta love a bit of inspiration, and we can certainly find that in abundance here.

There was clearly a Topsy Turvy Alice in Wonderland theme this year, so in the 19 days to prepare designers conceptualised  and installed their stand with fun and flair. The Queen of hearts was seen there, the rabbit, the tea party and more….have a squizz!












I am LOVING this floral ceiling. Such inspiration here
Another view of the amazing floral ceiling display


Amazing hyacinth bulbs



A Chelsea Pensioner before a display of lupins Photograph: Carl Court/Getty Images





Imagine being a judge on the Peony pane;. Drool






If you have ever been to the Royal Easter Show here in Sydney, I am sure that at some time of another you have peered into the Floristry exhibitions for a bit of a gander.

Like here, the Chelsea Flower Show also has a floristry element, evident in the Alice in Wonderland theme pictures above, but also where entrants create one off smaller pieces as seen below. I have included a couple of my favourites:










A big thank you to Caroline (our foreign correspondant!) for all the pictures she has allowed us to use here. I had better start saving my pennies if I want to get there myself next year- its definitely on my bucket list!

Til next time

Fwf x



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