When it comes to songs you don’t want stuck in your head, Tiptoe Through the Tulips has to be up there on the list.
But I have to say when you’re surrounded by 78 kinds of tulips at Canberra’s Floriade, it can be a hard one to shake.
Recently I headed down to Canberra for my very first Floriade, and found myself in the midst of not only tulips, but a long list of other flowers lighting up the park.
I’m told the gardening team plants more than a million flowers for the annual festival and while I didn’t count all of them, I can confirm there was rather a lot.
This year’s Floriade has a Style and Design theme, which I’ll admit helped tempt me across the flowery line. When I heard Leona Edmiston was the ambassador I saw it as a sign that this was the perfect year to attend for the first time. After all, with so many of her floral frocks in my wardrobe it would be silly not to.
So I threw some of her dresses and a bunch of antihistamines into a bag, jumped in a car and hit the road. Of course, Canberra being what it is, when I arrived it was more jeans and boots weather for walking around the park, but hey, I got to wear my Leonas at night.
It was lovely to see the fashion touches in the flower beds, with the Ferris Wheel being the perfect place to admire the high heels and top hats.
There was also a section where fashion designers created gorgeous dresses out of flowers and leaves and the like. I personally fell in love with the Poppy dress by Lauren Gordon which I’d love to beg borrow or steal for Melbourne Cup.
But Floriade is more than just looking at pretty flowers. You can learn a thing or two as well.
I enjoyed checking out the Floral Design lesson from the award winning Michael Woods of House of Holland and discovering tips such as how hair spray can help keep cherry blossoms looking their best.
And also going along to the Gourmet Garden to learn how to make Tarte Tatin and sugary decorations with another award winner – chef Claude Fremy.
Feeling creative? You can paint a gnome to be part of the Gnome Knoll. I loved looking at some of the colourful little fellas, and probably shouldn’t have been surprised to see a political statement in the mix, in a little red-headed ALP gnome.
While this may have been my first Floriade, I’ve certainly been slow off the mark. The festival is a major drawcard for ACT Tourism, with more than 400,000 visitors last year injecting around $30 million into the local economy.
I was invited down to check out Crowne Plaza Canberra’s Floriade package, which includes a night’s accommodation, buffet breakfast for two at Redsalt, a welcome pack including a Pantone journal, and complimentary parking from $250.
Nice and central, and just a short walk from Floriade, The Crowne Plaza was the perfect place to leave the car and worries behind and go exploring. And yes, that was one comfy bed to curl up in after all of that pottering through the pollen.
Floriade is held in Canberra’s Commonwealth Park.
It’s free to attend, and is open from 9am to 5pm weekdays, and 9am to 5.30pm on weekends.
Floriade 2012 runs until Sunday the 14th of October so there’s still time to get along and do some tulip tiptoeing yourself. So go on… get out into the fresh air and smell the flowers.
Amanda Woods stayed as a guest of Crowne Plaza Canberra. All opinions and thoughts remain her own.