More than a million flowers have been cultivated for this year’s Floriade. (ABC News: Jake Evans)
It is the 30th anniversary of Canberra’s iconic spring event, Floriade.
The festival of flowers draws a half a million people each year, beating out even the Summernats crowd for attendance.
Floriade is the signal to locals that it is safe to emerge from the cold. And the festival’s head gardener of 20 years, Andrew Forster, is happy with how it is shaping up.
“Everything is doing what it’s told this year,” he said.
More than a million tulips, daisies, violets, pansies and poppies (no roses) have been carefully cultivated since February for the spectacle.
“I love the poppies, but they need lots of food, they’re like a little baby that needs to be fed,” Mr Forster said.
Down by the lake, the poppies flutter in a chill breeze — spring has not quite come to Canberra yet.
But it is the tulips in particular that the Dutch-inspired Floriade is renowned for and they are just starting to poke their heads through the dirt.
Mounds of them make the shape of bananas and watermelon slices, piano keys and DNA strands — a ‘greatest hits’ of displays from Floriade’s past.
The tulips are carefully planted to flower early and late in the festival so that the displays are vibrant through the month Floriade runs.
Events ACT spokeswoman Jasmine De Martin said Floriade’s 30th is a big milestone.
“It is quite a big day for people to come out and enjoy spring in Canberra,” she said.