Celebrations as Expo returns to welcome gardeners old and new
Event organisers of this year’s Queensland Garden Expo could not have been happier with the result, as thousands converged on the Nambour Showgrounds this weekend to enjoy the 36th annual event. Event Manager Marion Beazley said while it was too early to tally the ticket sales, crowd numbers were encouraging and those exhibiting at the Expo and presenting as part of Australia’s largest gardening speaker program were very happy with the response.
“The Queensland Garden Expo is somewhat of a gardening reunion for our speakers and exhibitors as they all share a passion for gardening and love getting face-to-face with the public and the end-users of their products,” Ms Beazley said.
“The queues at the gates on Friday morning indicated the appetite for this event and with more people turning to gardening than ever before over the past 18 months, the demand for plants, information and all things gardening is at a peak.
“Our major partner, Scotts Australia shared that their recently conducted research showed 18 per cent of those interviewed were new to gardening during COVID, with the remaining 82 per cent saying they had increased their gardening efforts.
“This research helped inform our decision to introduce our new ‘Back to Basics’ speaker sessions which were really well received. We hope that the new budding gardeners who attended over the weekend walked away with some gems of wisdom!”
“The event started in rain on Friday, but this did not dampen the enthusiasm of our gardeners. Friday is the most popular day for our avid gardeners who like to come early – with many queuing at the gates well before opening — looking to secure that new variety of plant or rare product before it sells out.
“From Friday afternoon the rain stayed away and we enjoyed blue sky and sunshine on Saturday and Sunday. Tens of thousands of plants were sold over the course of the weekend and our 40-plus speakers who participated in our speaker program were thrilled at the turnout across the 10 live stages.”
The Expo welcomed back crowd favourites like ABC Gardening Australia’s Jerry Coleby-Williams, Claire Bickle and Phil Dudman, as well as new speakers including Dr Rohan David from Griffith University.
Organisers had difficult decisions to make about the likelihood of hosting the event given the region was in a three-day Covid lockdown when set-up commenced the week prior.
“The economic impact of this event is estimated to be between $8M and $11M so we were thrilled that the event was able to go ahead, particularly after last year’s cancellation for the first time in its 37-year history,” Ms Beazley said.
“While there was much uncertainty in the weeks prior to the event, we are delighted at how well-supported the event was and thank all who participated and attended for their patience and efforts in making the 36th Queensland Garden Expo a great success.”