"And Spring arose on the garden fair, like the spirit of love felt everywhere; and each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast, rose from the dreams of its wintry rest." Percy Bysshe Shelley
Even though winter can seem eternal in Canberra, the good news is that its dark days will soon be behind us and then the fragrance of spring will be in the air.
Ah, spring! It's one of my favourite times of the year, a time of flowers and once bare trees bursting into green, and days that are growing warmer and longer. A time of fairs and fetes and flower festivals, a time when all of us, like Percy Bysshe Shelley said, arise from the dreams of our wintry rest.
Spring always puts on a spectacular show here in Canberra and the surrounding regions. Here are 10 ways how we can finally shake off winter's icy grip and celebrate this beautiful, joyful, blooming season:
Floriade is Australia's biggest celebration of spring. Held this year between September 15-October 14, Floriade will once again provide spectacular displays of more than one million bulbs and annuals. The theme for 2018 is Pop Culture so expect to see some retro-inspired flower beds! But there'll be so much more with live music, entertainment, stalls, and of course, Nightfest. For the full program, go to Floriade 2018.
2. More tulips and other delights at the Tulip Top Gardens If you can't get enough of tulips and want more, then visit the Tulip Top Gardens, just 15 minutes north of Canberra on the Federal Highway. Tulip Top is a 10 acre garden of magnificent tulips and other spring flowers, as well as hundreds of blossom trees and a cascading waterfall and watercourse, with classical music wafting through the air.
Tulip Top is open from September 15-October 14, with entry fees that include free tea/instant coffee. Free parking is available. Next to the flowers, there will also be live music, a garden café, pancake and coffee parlour, wine tastings, and gift shop.
Tulip Top Gardens
3. Tis the season for spring fairs and fetes! It's the season of chocolate wheels, white elephant stalls, cakes, jams, fairy floss, showbags, raffle tickets, and sausage sizzles. All across the Canberra region, schools, churches and community-based organisations will be holding their annual fairs and fetes. Why not come along to a few this Spring, grab a bargain or two, and help support these very important fundraising events? Here are a few for you to go to:
Not only are there fairs and fetes aplenty, there are also many big annual festivals held during this time of the year. Enjoy a day in the bush at theTidbinbilla Open Day on October 7; connect with your neighbours and community and celebrate the lovely Muslim festival of Eid Fest on September 8 at Molonglo Valley; put on your tartan and celebrate our Scottish heritage at the Canberra Highland Gathering on October 6; celebrate our multi-Asian-cultural heritage at the beautifulCanberra Moon Festival between Sept 21-23; and build a scarecrow for the Scarecrow Festival on September 21.
You can also go further afield and enjoy a windy day at theHarden Kite Festival on Oct 13, or celebrate Japanese culture and gorgeous cherry blossoms at the Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre duringSakura Matsuri 2018 on September 22.
5. Indulge in a high tea. With the days getting warmer, Spring is a wonderful time to frock up and feast on a luscious high tea. So gather your friends and celebrate a spring high tea at theCanberra Hyatt, Old Parliament House, and theBurbury Hotel. For high tea with an Alice in Wonderland twist, try White Rabbit's Tipsy Tea.
Revel in the warmer weather, longer daylight hours and spring blooms with a picnic. There are so many places in Canberra to choose from, including the National Arboretum, the National Botanic Gardens, Canberra Nara Peace Park, Casuarina Sands, Fadden Pines, Pine Island, Glebe Park, Cotter Dam Reserve, and Googong Foreshores. To find a park or nature reserve near you, go here.
7. Visit the National Botanic Gardens
Enjoy spring at the National Botanic Gardens. You can have a picnic under the eucalypts or enjoy a delicious meal at the Pollen café, and stroll along the boardwalks and many bush tracks. Special events at the Gardens this Spring include: children's storytime at the Gardens with the Magic of Spring on September 7 (Children are welcome to dress up as an elf, gnome or fairy, and meet the Gardens' Fairy); and Wattle and eucalypt dyeing workshops on September 9 and 16 where participants can join local textile artist Sally Blake
and learn how to make flower, leaf and bark dyes.
8. Create a fairy or gnome garden.
There's nothing quite so delightfully enchanting than a fairy or gnome garden in your backyard. You can set it up in old pots and containers, or an old wheelbarrow or an old tyre or gumboots. I've set aside a section of my backyard for the gnomes and fairies to run riot, and I've also turned some potted plants into fairy dwellings. Fairy and gnome gardens are wonderful things for children to be involved with.
Fairy and gnome gardens are really very simple to make. You probably already have most of the things you need for a fairy garden in a pot such as an empty pot or container with drainage holes, high-quality potting soil, and some plants such as moss and succulents. You just need some pebbles, bark, twigs and leaves for decoration, and some fairy figurines and décor. To make a simple fairy garden in a container, go here. For some great ideas and supplies, go to Fairy Gardening Australia.
9. Visit a nursery and find some gorgeous spring blooms for your garden. I love visiting Rodneys in Pialligo, as well as the Heritage Nursery in Yarralumla. Bunnings also sells a wonderful selection of flowers. And who knows? You may also find a few fairies and gnomes for your garden!
10. And finally, do a spring clean!
There's no better time than Springtime to do a 'spring clean', whether it's a spring clean of the whole house or yard or garden or the pantry or our kids' bedrooms (too many toys!) or our wardrobes (I have too many clothes!) or our finances or our healths (I know I've eaten LOTS of comfort food during winter!), or our friendships/relationships or even our lifestyles. So let's sweep away the old to allow room for the new. (Which is a good thing because if you're like me, you're going to need some space for some new toys that I'm sure Santa Claus will be bringing!) A good idea is to donate your good, used toys and clothes to your local Vinnies or Salvos stores.
"Spring is nature's way of saying, 'let's party!' "