Well it’s that time of year again when spring bulbs are flowering in the Southern Hemisphere and the #Floriade gnomes have been hard at work planting thousands of bulbs. This year’s theme is Reflection and the designers did a good job of planting beds so the flowers form symbols of war and peace in tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli.
Floriade is always colourful but it does lack variety as all the beds are constructed using flowers with a limited palette. I usually prefer the other garden displays: the ‘weed garden’ which displays garden plants that are bush friendly as well as examples of plants that are often garden escapees and cause damage in the wild; the edible gardens which demonstrate how gardeners can create visually appealing gardens using edibles; and the sustainable gardens which educate visitors about sustainable garden practices. The weed garden was there this year but I was disappointed to find that the other two gardens were absent.
Despite this, we can always learn something from or find inspiration in any garden and Floriade 2015 was no exception. Once again, the Floriade designers used plants of different heights to add an extra dimension to the beds. This is something every gardener can do – even if a single pot is the full extent of the garden. Next time you’re planting spring flowering bulbs (in autumn – that’s right, now’s the time if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere) why not layer tall growing tulips and daffodils with shorter growing hyacinths, daisies and violas. For colour and interest for a greater portion of the year, you could plant long-lived perennials behind such a display. Penstemons and achilleas are good, hardy choices that don’t require a lot of water so are quite compatible (plants that need lots of water aren’t a good choice because lots of water can cause bulbs to rot).
If there’s a lot of shade in your garden, planting in wheelbarrows is a great way of creating a mobile garden. You can move your ‘beds’ around as the sun travels across your space so that they get the amount of light your plants need.
For a more ‘architectural’ garden, a new product called #modpots could give you a helping hand.
I’m not sure if I’m going to make the trip to Floriade 2016 because there’s little variation between the years and the organisers don’t seem to be attracting many garden-related talks any more. The colourful pictures Floriade makes though are rather enchanting and entry is free, so who knows, maybe I’ll continue to make a short visit each year. Either way, I’m sure you will all enjoy the colourful photos in this post and I hope my visit will at least have allowed me to pass on some inspiration to those of you who couldn’t make it to Floriade yourselves.