In the last few weeks of winter there is still a chill in the air, however the first buds of Spring begin to show. It is a sign that the cold depths of winter is soon to pass and I for one, can't wait. Spring in Canberra is a beautiful time of year when the blossoms come out in all their glory and petals sprinkle to the ground in a spectacular, colourful display. Magnolias unfurl their leaves and show off their splendour while bee's hover around gardens in full bloom. It is simply a stunning time of year to be in the Nations Capital.
Around the region there are numerous ways to celebrate the season with floral events, displays and gardens to explore. Of course the main event each Spring is the popular Floriade, and deservedly so, however there are plenty more opportunities to get out there and smell the flowers all season long...
Source: Australian National Botanical Gardens Facebook
The Australian National Botanical Gardens has a wide variety of flora in their gardens, from all regions of Australia. The property has over 6,300 species of plants representing nearly one-third of Australia's known native plants. Walk through the gardens and explore the Red Centre Garden which shows the harshness of the Australian Outback, as well as other areas of Australia and the native plants unique to their areas. The Australian National Botanical Gardens website also has a handy weekly update to tell visitors which flowers are in bloom. See here for more details.
Lake Cruises and Garden Tours to Government House are held between September - November and February - April, every year. These scenic tours are run by Canberra Southern Cross Cruises and offers a lake cruise to the private jetty of Government House and then a guided walk through of the gardens. This is a unique opportunity to be able to walk the grounds of the Governor Generals residence and learn more about its fascinating gardens and history. Explore the Wild Garden, English Garden, Hasluck Garden, Garden of Bravery and more on the 54 hectare property. Many of the existing trees have been planted by previous Governor Generals and visiting dignitaries. Combining a cruise with the Government House gardens is an idyllic way to spend a Spring time morning in Canberra. See here for details.
Parliament House runs Spring Glory Courtyard Tours through the internal courtyards of this iconic building every September and October (dates vary). Throughout the year they also offer Autumn Glory and Meet The Gardener tours to explore the courtyards and the secrets they hold. There are a surprising 17 internal courtyards within the property and the tour usually takes in 13 of them. Each courtyard often has a waterfall or a tinkling water feature so politicians can sit and talk quietly and not be overheard. With historic blossoming trees and an array of Spring time colour, these tours sell out quickly so ensure you book in early. See here for more information and check throughout the year for seasonal updates. Tours are then booked through Canberra Ticketing and you are advised to arrive a little earlier to get through Security.
The Rose Gardens at Old Parliament House can be enjoyed all year around, located either side of Old Parliament House (now called the Museum of Australian Democracy). Popular ways to enjoy the gardens is to print out the Old Parliament House Rose Guide or the Old Parliament House Garden Walk brochure and explore the gardens at leisure. Many of the stunning roses you will see were planted in the Great Depression. The gardens began to decline when parliament was moved to its new location, however it was restored in 2004 to the stunning beauty you see today. See here for details.
Open Gardens Canberra is an opportunity to walk through spectacular private gardens around the community and marvel at what garden enthusiasts can create on their own properties. As many of Canberra's suburban areas have large blocks or extended properties backing onto bushland, there is a wide variety of gardens to enjoy throughout the year. Check the Open Gardens website and calendar throughout the year to see which gardens are open this season.
The National Arboretum is a unique place to visit with forests of endangered tree species and stunning views over the city. Although some trees are non-flowering, there are many that are in flower during Spring and at various times of the year. For example Forest 17 is full of Yoshino Cherry Blossoms which are an impressive sight when flowering in unison. There are a variety of nature walks to enjoy or take a free tour and learn more about why these plantations are so important. Throughout the year they have Wattle Walks to appreciate this native Spring beauty in full bloom. See here for details of what is on offer each season.
Forest 17 - Yoshino Cherry Blossoms at the National Arboretum. Source: Facebook
Tulip Top Gardens is located just off the Federal Highway to Sydney, 20 minutes north of the CBD. It is worth the drive to visit this unique 10 acre property, designed to be enjoyed by gardening enthusiasts each Spring - the same dates as Floriade. This private garden is lovingly tended to by a family all year around and due to the time it takes to create such a display, there is an entry fee to get in. For this price you get to enjoy their spectacular gardens as well as a sausage sizzle included in the price (11am - 2pm only) and as many cups of tea or coffee as you please, whilst sitting and enjoying the gardens. Walk up to the lookout above the property and marvel at the wide array of colours and blooms across the property. Blossom trees are in full colour and overhang beds of tulips in unique colour combinations and varieties. See here for more details. For an article on Tulip Top Gardens 2016 with more photos, see here.
As well as all these impressive events and venues on this list, the beauty of Spring can be enjoyed by just walking through Canberra's city streets and watching the blossoms fall. As you drive around the CBD you can also find Spring colour in surprising places - with many blossoming trees located inside the city's roundabouts. Another scenic place to enjoy the weather and blossoms is along Queen Elizabeth Terrace on Lake Burley Griffin. Take a walk along the lake and enjoy the stretch of white blossoms en masse and in flower. When there is a gust of wind, kids are seen trying to catch the hundreds of raining blossom petals as they fall. During August the trees still have their empty branches, however before long they will be a stunning display for everyone to enjoy.