Gwen O’Toole is an accomplished writer focusing on travel, food, wine and events management. Follow her on Instagram @Gwennieo
Keen to check out the show? Here's 20 reasons why you should
You don't have to be an avid gardener to love everything about the 2017 Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show. In fact, even if you haven't a green thumb and are a terrible plant owner, there's still much to love about this year's event to be held at the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens from Wednesday, March 29th to Sunday, April 02, 2017.
It's the southern hemisphere's largest horticultural event and this year it's full of entertainment, show gardens, installations, interactive workshops, tasty food and much more.
Get inspired by some of Australia's leading landscape designers at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. Image: Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show
If you're heading to the show, here are 20 things worth checking out.
1. The Landscape Design Show Gardens Located in Carlton Gardens, the show gardens are conceptual spaces designed by Australia's leading landscaping talents. These spaces are certain to inspire. This year's line-up includes Double Chelsea Flower Show Silver Gilt medallist and Selling Houses Australia co-host, Charlie Albone among several others all competing for the title of 'Best in Show' in the Show Garden Design Awards.
2. Check out the floral displays & Great Hall of Flowers Here's where you'll experience the scent of thousands of flowers wafting through the Royal Exhibition Building as you browse gorgeous floral installations produced by leading Australian florists. It's also where you can enjoy a bit of shopping at the Retail Flower Market and take home some beautiful blooms to enjoy after the show.
3. Enjoy the 'Gardens By Twilight' Enjoy the show in a different light and take advantage of the Gardens by Twilight after-hours. Open until 9:30pm on Friday 31st of March, you can enjoy the beautifully lit gardens by moonlight with a glass of sparkling in hand. It's a magical way to enjoy an evening.
4. Suss out the Floral Fashion It's a different spin on your typical fashion catwalk as RMIT design students showcase their talents utilising their skills in both fashion and floristry. Students create custom outfits using only flowers and foliage and the results are pretty impressive. This year's garments will be inspired by the National Gallery of Victoria's Victor &Rolf: Fashion Artists Exhibition.
5. Cast your vote for the best Boutique Garden.
Proving gardens are only limited by imagination, not size; you can check out five finalist landscape designers who have each produced an intimate, 5m x 5m display garden. It's a must-see for any urban dweller with a small garden space.
6. Do some shopping. Over 150 exhibitors will be at the show offering the latest in gardening and outdoor lifestyle products. You'll find everything from exotic plants to gardening tools and the latest in outdoor entertainment.
7. Support student landscapers. The Achievable Gardens showcase is now in its 11th year and allows visitors the chance to see Victoria's brightest student landscapers with twelve designers chosen to create their own 5m x 3m installation at the show.
8. Settle in for entertainment on the Main Stage.
Throughout the show, the Main Stage, located within the Great Hall of Flowers, will be buzzing with free seminars from floral artists to gardening experts and celebrity landscapers.
9. Improve your gardening at The Diggers Club.
It's all about organic gardening at The Diggers Club. The plant conservation group will create an artful, edible garden arena and heirloom tasting station, ideal for learning about all things veggies that you won't find in supermarkets.
There's plenty of entertainment at the upcoming Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. Image: Provided
10. Take a workshop in floral design
Book a ticket and learn from the experts in a variety of floral design workshops cover everything from designing your own flower crown to producing hanging succulent gardens.
Workshops are located inside the Royal Exhibition Building and are ticketed with limited space available. Book yourself in early via the website.
11. Check out the latest gardening tools.
Ryobi will be on hand ensuring attendees find the right tool for their next project. With two locations across the Show, DIYers can learn about the tools needed to perfect their outdoor space or get hands-on with Ryobi power tools inside by creating take-home herb gardens in the hourly workshops.
12. Get practical advice from the experts.
Need some direction for your own garden? The landscape advisory centre is the perfect spot to get a free consultation from accredited landscape designers. Registrations are now open via the event website for free 25-minute sessions.
13. Check out the latest up-and-comers in floral design.
What's as emerging floral artists are given only an hour and a half to flex their creative muscles and produce their own floral design in this live demonstration arena on Wednesday the 29th of March. Competitions kick off at 9.30am and the advanced competition starts from 2.00pm.
14. Browse the window displays.
The Baptcare Shop Window Design Competition will see entrants compete to create the best shop front window inspired by the theme 'flora that deserves the best of care'.
Encouraging the designers to think creatively about what 'the best of care' means to them, the competition will be a unique display of highly delicate flora.
15. Enjoy some art.
The second floor of the Royal Exhibition Building will be transformed into a temporary art gallery showcasing works from Victoria's finest art societies. Artists will also be present to divulge their creative process and discuss each piece.
All artworks will be available to purchase on the day.
16. All the great food.
You certainly won't go hungry here as the show will have a variety of garden-themed cafes, bars and even high tea spaces located throughout the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens. Like the show, the food offerings will champion Victoria's best regional produce, catering to families and foodies alike.
17. Wander the sculpture gardens.
Stroll through the sculpture garden created by the Association of Sculptors of Victoria. The Central Boulevard of the Carlton Gardens will transform into an outdoor sculpture garden with a number of new sculptural works commissioned for the show. All works will be available to purchase.
18. The kids will love it.
Kids (and parents too!) are sure to love the Kids Under Cover Cubby House Challenge®. This annual auction of spectacular cubby houses created by leading Australian design and architecture firms is coordinated by Kids Under Cover (the official charity partner of the event) all proceeds from the auction go to the charity's youth homelessness prevention programs.
19. Entertainment for everyone.
Everyone is certain to be entertained as the event will feature dozens of roving entertainers and musicians over the five days of the show.
20. It's a great day out.
Even if gardening and floristry isn't your passion, there's certain to be something for every member of your family at this year's show.
A full program of events as well as ticketing are listed on the event website. RACV Members also receive discount tickets.