I love gardening. And flowers. And gardens full of flowers. Floriade, Canberra’s annual flower show, is my idea of heaven.
I was lucky enough to pop down there last weekend and check out the show and stay at the Crowne Plaza Canberra which is a lazy two minute walk from the entry gates. Convenient-o-rama.
I have been to Floriade a few times but this year’s Feast for the Senses show seemed much bigger. Beyond the colourful tapestry of hyacinths, tulips, pansies and daffodils, there were markets selling herbal teas, handmade soap, silk dresses and wheat packs; food stalls flogging gozlemes, noodles and nachos, and performers waltzing about on stage and weaving through the crowd.
Lindeman’s hosts a section called the Open Garden. The days I was there, they were running tastings of their Early Harvest and Sweet Seasons low alcohol wines, there were cooking demonstrations happening off to the side and they had this fabulous offer where anyone who visited was able to pot up a hanging basket with three seedlings of their choice. All of this for free!
My favourite section was Gnome Knoll where loads of colour spattered kids were painting terracotta gnomes and adding their creation to a rapidly growing community. There were some pretty rad looking creations – gnomes as imagined by Ziggy Stardust or The Mighty Boosh production designer.
Another highlight was peeking over the shoulders of budding artists who were drawing flowers with soft pastels. Everywhere you looked, there were kids running around in dance outfits or painting or carrying balloons. There was even a dedicated Kid’s Corner with a petting zoo.
To coincide with this year’s festival, Crowne Plaza Canberra is offering a special Celebrate Spring package including overnight accommodation, buffet breakfast for two in Redsalt Restaurant, complimentary car parking, a two-for-one drink voucher in the newly-refurbished Binara One bar, an exclusive welcome pack and a sweet in-room treat, from $250 per night (terms and conditions apply). The package is valid for stays between September 17 and October 16, 2011. For a full review of the hotel and this package, click here.