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The Wrap Up: Queensland Garden Expo 2015

If I had a dollar for every time I heard somebody from the horticulture industry, often a media personality, journalist, or TV presenter, say that the Queensland Garden Expo is the best garden show on the Australian calendar, then I’d need a bigger wallet. 

Perhaps not everyone would agree with this. But one thing for sure, in the view of those who, like us, attend garden shows all around Australia and the world, it’s certainly everybody’s favourite garden show.

The show has been running every year for over thirty years, and for good reason. The show has all the information; all the plants, from herbs to palms to trees to vegetables, orchids, annuals; and of course all the products you need to look after them.

As Graham said on air on Sunday live from the Nambour Showground; “I think they’ve nailed it here, and that’s why the show has run for so long. Lots of fantastic exhibitors, lots of new plant releases….more than I’ve seen ever.”


Garden radio show presenter goes to the birds!

We very much enjoyed meeting Lachlan and Luis-the-parrot on Saturday morning

Greeting you as you enter the Nambour Showgrounds a tasteful little landscape display might have you expecting an experience like the shows in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. But only a few steps further down the garden path and there is no doubt why everyone loves this show.

This is the gardeners’ garden show where the focus is where it should be, on plants. And fabulous looking plants are on display, for sale, and walking out the door and into the gardens of thousands of visitors. I’ve spoken to locals who come here to buy all the plants they need for the whole year. So it’s little surprise to me that nurseryman from all over Queensland support this show so enthusiastically.

We’ve been blown away by some of the beautiful rare plants available here. Michael Dent produces amazing aloe plants covered in brightly coloured flowers. Aloe Aloe is Michael’s label and his beaultiful plants have been very popular. Graham has had the pleasure of filming at Michael’s garden. The aloe flowers adorning his outstanding plants were simply breath-taking and a real hit with the birds.


Spectacular aloe from Michael Dent at Aloe Aloe.

Mellum Creek Nursery has been a huge hit too. Nurseryman Steven Flood kindly donated several interesting plants to the Garden Clinic stall for our display. Most popular by far is the lovely Medinilla with it’s delicious, pendulous flowers. Also a spectacular mound of bromeliad, Deuterochonia, caught the attention of everyone walking by. Fiendishly spiky this plant has the deceptive look from a distance of being a soft, cushion of green moss.


The very unusual bromeliad, Deuterochonia

You could be forgiven for thinking that the Deuterochonia is a succulent, but on closer inspection.....

This lovely tropical flower Medinilla Alata stole our hearts. 

Beautiful candelabra of Medinilla flower

It came as a bit to a surprise to me, but fuchias are also hugely popular at the Queensland Garden Expo. The ‘Tropical Fuchsia’ at the Garden Clinic display was donated by Tamborine Mountain Wholesale Nursery. Nurseryman, Greg Rundle tells us that they are a hardy, adaptable fucia that thrives on heat and humidity. Whereas the fuchsias of my childhood memories, all covered in the Katoomba snow, would thrive on shady little nooks in the chilly mountain cool.

Whilst ‘Tropical Fuchsia’ loves the Queensland sun it will also tolerate quite heavy shade too, making it a wonderfully versatile addition to any garden. And it can be pruned very hard after flowering, so keeping it compact is no problem. 

No trip to Queensland would be complete without a Hibiscus or two, and thanks to our friends at Award Plants, I didn’t have to come home disappointed. It was the first thing I ever planted with my late grandfather, and every time I see it’s rich, red paper-like petals I think of old Poppy-John.

There are two hibiscus releases from Award Plants at this year’s Expo that really pleased the flower-fans; the ‘Flamenco’ range and the ‘Klahanie’ range. Nurseryman Mark Ward kindly donated a few for us to give away at Graham’s talk on Sunday, and I picked the wrong time to blink- they were gone in a flash!

‘Klahanie’ is the tropical-climate-lover range, and ‘Flamenco’ is a range specifically bred for flowers that are large, colour rich and long lasting, in fact some flowers last up to six days! Both have a compact, well branched habit providing a neat frame for the lush dark green foliage and spectacular full blooms. ‘Klahanie’ is perfect for a pot, making it a great indoor option if you’re not lucky enough to live in the tropics.

We have had so much fun at the Queensland Garden Expo, and we’d love to see you here next year. If you would like to join the tour in 2016, let us know. Visit our Ross Garden Tours enquiries page >