Friday 12th July 2019 was the start of the three day Nambour Garden Expo – celebrating its 35th year. The Expo is an annual gardening highlight for me now as I slowly build up my plant collection and create my garden. This was my second visit to the Expo and this year I was considerably more organised! We left home early and were queued ten minutes before the gates opened at 08:00. We also took along a packed picnic lunch. I was more discerning in what I purchased this year, and came away with some lovely plants to add to the garden. I thought I would share some of my experience from the Expo with you on this weeks’ Six on Saturday.
First stop – A stall called “Grandma’s Garden”
This stall sells an unusual variety of cottage garden plants, and it did not take me long to fill a shopping bag with a good selection of plants…..and in the process I blew half of my budget for the day!!
I purchased Phlox stolonifera, Salvia ‘Little Diva’ with the beautiful vivid pink flowers, Nerine filifolia and an unknown Allium species – all shown above.
My other purchases from Grandma’s Garden included Phygelius capense (the cape fuchsia, supposedly easy to grow and it has a long flowering season), Dombeya calantha with beautiful pink clusters of flowers, Phlox stononifera the creeping phlox, a miniature Shasta daisy, and Artemisia ‘Jim Russell’.
2. Snapshots of the Expo
In addition to the 55 nurseries selling plants at the Expo, there were associated retail stalls (garden equipment, garden ornaments, gardeners clothing etc), artistic floral displays, garden clubs, a quirky container competition, a giant kitchen garden, a number of reflection garden displays, landscape displays, numerous speaker programs, the coffee cup refill station and plant cloakrooms.
The common name for these unusual little plants is “living stone plants”. I tried growing some from seed last year but despite a good germination rate the seedlings did not survive! I came across some for sale at a cactus and succulent stall at the Expo, so I bought three different species. They came with an instruction sheet, and I now have a better understanding of what growing conditions they need. I realise now that I killed the seedlings by over-watering them. I still have some seeds left over, so I think I will try germinating the remaining seeds in spring and see if I can raise at least one seedling successfully!
4. Stilts, coffee cup refills and an aloe display
These colourfully dressed young ladies were walking around the Expo on stilts and happily posing for photos with people! The coffee refill station was popular with everyone as you could take your used disposable coffee cup to the refill station, choose a seedling and volunteers potted up the seedling into the used cup.
5. The Richmond Birdwing Butterfly plant
The Richmond Birdwing Butterfly is endemic to Australia and is one of our largest butterflies. It is unfortunately listed as vulnerable. The butterflies inhabit subtropical rainforest areas, and lay their eggs on a specific vine, the native Pararistolochia vines. Unfortunately these butterflies are also attracted to gardeners favourite Dutchmans Pipe vine ( Aristolochia elegans), which is an invasive species here in Australia and which poisons the larvae of the butterfly. There is an increasing awareness of this fact, and many gardeners are now planting the native vines in their gardens to encourage the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly and to assist in its conservation. As we live very close to a National Park, I’m hoping that this vine will thrive and encourage the butterfly into our garden.
6. Second set of photos of the Expo
One of the stalls in the arena was selling some amazing rustic metal work. The piece I photographed features a beehive and bees on branches of a metal tree. Another stall was selling wood with inlaid stained glass designs. The other photos are from the giant kitchen garden section at the Expo.
Our purchases for our kitchen garden included bare rooted elderberry bush (one), one rhubarb Rheum x hybridum ‘Ever Red’ crown, and two Asparagus officinalis ‘Mary Washington’ crowns. The elderberry and rhubarb have been planted in large pots, and the asparagus planted out into one of the vegetable beds along the side of the garden where we understand asparagus had been successfully grown before.
Well that’s my Six on Saturday for this week! If you visit the home of ‘Six on Saturday’ at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com you can look at other Six on Saturday posts from around the world.