Queensland Garden Show set for a blooming success

Peter Heaton of Heatons Nursery has been attending the Expo since its inception. 415860_05

The Queensland Garden Expo, a horticultural staple in Australia for four decades, is set for its 40th-anniversary celebration with an extended four-day event.

The Nambour Showgrounds will be the setting from Thursday, 4 July, to Sunday, 7 July, when the seven-hectare immersive gardening experience will take place.

Australia’s largest gardening speaker program will include crowd favourites Costa Georgiadis, Sophie Thomson, Jerry Coleby-Williams and Phil Dudman.

There will be celebrations to recognise the pivotal role of exhibitors since the Expo began in 1985.

Event manager Marion Beazley said that, with more than 360 exhibitors offering an extensive range of gardening-related knowledge and products, this year’s four-day event brings together Australia’s gardening royalty, local permaculture and community groups, and more than 55 growers and nurseries who all share their wealth of knowledge with Expo visitors.

“The event was conceived by a group of Sunshine Coast Nursery Industry people who wanted to share their love of gardening and knowledge with local gardeners, and has grown year-on-year to the gardener’s paradise our visitors travel far and wide for,” said Ms Beazley.

“Since its inception, we estimate that the Queensland Garden Expo has welcomed close to one million visitors and has contributed over $200 million to the Sunshine Coast economy.

“This 40-year celebration is really a call out for locals; we couldn’t do it without the support of our Sunshine Coast community – the hundreds of volunteers, the community groups and everyone who joins us year-in-year-out – they have all wholeheartedly embraced this event over the years.

“If you’ve always thought about coming to check out the Expo in our beautiful hinterland town of Nambour – this is truly the year to do so.

“Last year’s popular Poultry Spectacular will return in 2024, this time with an expanded program and some surprises, which will no doubt attract quite a crowd.

“We also have the very popular Kitchen Garden with a range of experts sharing how to grow your own produce at home, and the Cook’s Garden stage with chef Matt Golinski and Sunshine Coast Foodie, Martin Duncan – to name but a few.

“You definitely don’t need to be a pro gardener to have a great time at the Expo as we have something for everyone – from absolute amateurs to fanatical green thumbs and everyone in between.”

Ms Beazley said they will also be honouring the Queensland Garden Expo’s long-time exhibitors – some of whom have been selling plants and gardening wares since the Expo began in 1985.

One exhibitor, Peter Heaton of Heatons Nursery – a family owned, indoor plant nursery established in 1976 based upon an extensive private collection of ferns that also expanded into anthuriums – has been attending the Expo since its inception with the third generation of the family now presenting talks at the event.

With an extra day for this year’s event, Mr Heaton estimates he’ll have 3000 plants for sale over the four days.

“It takes years to grow our plants – in some cases, 10 years before an anthurium is at a point where it’s ready to sell as a mature plant in a nursery or at an event like the Expo,” Mr Heaton said.

“The wait from tissue culture to sale is well worth it, however, showing off how spectacular these plants are at the show.

“We love the opportunity the Expo gives us to share information and help people become more confident with their plants. You can see it in their faces, people of all ages having the chance to see, hear, learn, smell, touch and discover new things,” Mr Heaton said.

Reminiscing on 40 years at the Expo, Mr Heaton recalls the mid-winter weather with frosty mornings and beautiful clear days as always a standout.

“The first year in 1985 was so hot, it was in February,” said Mr Heaton.

“The next few years were wet, so wet we needed to evacuate the grounds one year as the creek was getting too high. That’s when we changed to July.”

The four-day Queensland Garden Expo will be held at the Nambour Showgrounds, Coronation Avenue, Nambour.

Entry is free for children aged 15 and under with a giant kids’ playground to keep them entertained.

To find out more and purchase tickets online, please visit www.qldgardenexpo.com.au.