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A growing crop of expo fans

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A growing crop of expo fans

There’s a little something for all ages at this much-anticipated annual event on the gardening calendar. WORDS: Caitlin Zerafa

The Sunshine Coast is set to bloom for a ‘long weekend’ full of colour, beauty and fun as the region hosts one of its most anticipated expos of the year.

The Queensland Garden Expo is one of Australia’s most-loved gardening events and attracts more than 40,000 people through its gates each year.

Whether you’re an enthusiastic green thumb or a complete garden rookie, the three-day event presents displays, stalls and demonstrations for people of all ages and gardening stages.

This year, gates will open on July 7 when more than 360 exhibitors will have everything gardening related on offer, including one of the largest ranges of plants in Queensland and all the latest in permaculture growing.

The event’s finely curated speaker program includes more than 125 free lectures, as well as demonstrations by some of Australia’s most-respected gardening experts.

Event manager Marion Beazley says the expo features favourites including the ABC’s Gardening Australia presenters Costa Georgiadis, Sophie Thomson, Jerry Coleby-Williams and Millie Ross.

She says the 2023 event also will include celebrity chef Matt Golinski and domestic poultry experts from across Australia, who will share their extensive knowledge on keeping and caring for domestic chickens.

“We are proud to host Australia’s largest gardening speaker program at the expo, with 45 speakers across eight stages over three days,” Ms Beazley says.

“This year, we have much of our gardening royalty headlining the program, as well as an incredible array of other gardening experts covering a wide range of topics.

“Of course, we are delighted to confirm that Costa will join us again this year.

“He first joined our speaker line-up in 2011 and his charm, energy, exceptional knowledge of all things gardening and permaculture and ever-increasing profile on the small screen have earned him a substantial following and a somewhat iconic status at the expo – with old and young visitors alike.

“Costa will once again spend much time in the popular Kitchen Garden, including a garden ramble and special sessions for the young gardeners on the Terraces when he dons his goggles and becomes Costa the Garden Gnome.”

Aside from being a horticulturalist, author and TV presenter, Ms Thomson is also a trained naturopath.

During the expo, she will present: “How cool is your garden? Every garden can make a difference in mitigating the urban heat island effect”.

Ms Thomson’s session will offer insights into designing gardens that reduce urban heat and create a comfortable environment.

“As governments around the world look at ways they can reduce the effects of the urban heat island effect, every home gardener can adopt simple ways to green up and cool down their backyard, making it more liveable and productive,” Ms Thomson says.

“I am excited to be back at the Queensland Garden Expo and connect with the keen gardeners attending.”

Other popular speakers on the program this year include Phil Dudman, known as ‘The Garden Guru’.

Mr Dudman is a horticulturalist and landscaper that fronted a noisy 1980s grunge rock band before becoming the horticultural editor of Gardening Australia magazine.

Brisbane’s Claire Bickle will also share her wealth of knowledge on indoor plants, creating happy habitat gardens to attract native fauna.

The 2023 Queensland Garden Expo is on from July 7 to 9 at the Nambour Showgrounds. Buy tickets and see the full program of speakers at qldgardenexpo.com.au.

Fast facts

  • Three colourful days of gardening from July 7 to 9.
  • More than 40,000 attendees expected.
  • 65 per cent visitation from outside the Sunshine Coast region.
  • More than seven hectares of gardening inspiration.
  • More than 360 exhibitors and displays, including 55 nurseries.
  • See and hear more than 100 free lectures and demonstrations.
  • Eight live speaker stages.
  • 50,000 plants for sale each day.
  • More than $10 million injected into the local economy.

A chance to meet Costa

Costa Georgiadis is a landscape architect, television presenter and author.

He says is looking forward to returning to the Sunshine Coast for what has become one of his favourite gardening events over the past 12 years.

“I am so chuffed to be coming to the expo this year. It’s hands down one of the best gardening events on the calendar,” Mr Georgiadis says.

“What makes it so special is that those who come and join us can talk directly to some of the most knowledgeable and experienced gardeners we have in Australia.

“Whether you’re new to gardening (and how exciting is that) or you are a seasoned expert looking for specialist advice, this is the best place to find it all. The expo is also a great opportunity to expose kids to all the benefits of gardening for the mind and the body, which they can then take forward and use for the rest of their lives. It’s all about gardening for the soil and the soul.”

Expert local presenters join the line-up on speaker program

This year’s expo will also feature an array of interesting local guest speakers who will delve into their expert tips and knowledge of the world of gardening.

See who’s appearing from around the Sunshine Coast and Noosa regions.

Dr Kevin Redd grows a wide range of edible plants at his boutique nursery and demonstration gardens on the Sunshine Coast. Equally passionate about harvesting and using these amazing culinary ingredients, he will share some recipes and techniques for cooking and enjoying the seasonal abundance.

Anne Gibson, also known as ‘The Micro Gardener’, is a writer, author and urban garden community educator on the Sunshine Coast. She is passionate about inspiring people to improve health by growing nutrient-dense food gardens in creative containers and small spaces. She shares organic gardening tips and tutorials to save time, money and energy on her popular website themicrogardener.com.

Living in the Noosa hinterland Adam Woodhams is a life-long gardener, horticulturist by trade and communicator by profession. He has worked in the horticultural media for nearly 20 years as a writer, photographer, television and radio presenter, public speaker and podcast host. While his focus is on gardening and horticulture, he has a strong background in landscape design and construction and emphasises sustainability across all his work. His YouTube channel, Adam Woodhams, has more than six million views.

Leonie Shanahan is an educator, author and presenter with more than 20 years’ experience in horticulture and permaculture. She is the founder of the Edible School Gardens Program and is passionate about growing healthy people through nutrient rich food which starts with the soil.

Sue Fingleton is an accomplished floral artist and the president of the Nambour Floral Art Society. She holds the esteemed position of accredited floral art judge and is an active member of the Queensland Floral Art Society and Caloundra Floral Art Society. She has achieved notable success, securing first and second places at state conferences across Australia. She has also made a strong impression at the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers Floral Art Competition, earning a first and second and two third places over four years. Her exceptional talent has been recognised at the Queensland Garden Expo, where she has won the Grand Champion title three times and been the runner-up five times in the past 12 years. She has also represented her artistry internationally, earning a silver award at Canada Blooms in 2015.

A native of the Sunshine Coast, Matt Golinski is a professional chef with a passion for creating cuisine using fresh, seasonal and local ingredients. He has worked as executive chef at some of Queensland’s leading restaurants over his 32-year career and now enjoys the role of consulting chef to restaurants, being a guest presenter at festivals and events.

Martin Duncan (aka ‘Sunshine Coast Foodie’) has a passion for showcasing the region’s restaurants, cafes, producers and products. He is a former chef and restaurateur, and a true connector of people in food agribusiness, including the plant nursery and hospitality industries. Join him and his foodie friends in the Cooks Garden Marquee at the expo – it’s going to be a hoot!

 

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