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It’s like Christmas for gardeners

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It’s like Christmas for gardeners

Horticultural botanist Jerry Coleby-Williams can’t wait to join the other 40,000 visitors expected at the 2024 Queensland Garden Expo.

Nambour Showgrounds will be transformed into a gardeners’ paradise next month. Everyone from new to experienced gardeners will have the chance to gather ideas, learn new techniques and purchase items from more than 360 exhibitors.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the Queensland Garden Expo is expected to attract almost 40,000 visitors eager to see the line-up of entertaining speakers, including more than 125 free lectures and demonstrations by some of Australia’s most respected gardening experts.

Event manager Marion Beazley says the three-day program features firm favourites from across Australia, who will share their extensive knowledge.

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

Among the line-up of speakers is horticultural botanist, writer and pioneer of sustainability Jerry Coleby-Williams.

A visionary whose passion has made a profound impact on gardening enthusiasts worldwide, Jerry is known for his extensive knowledge, advocacy for biodiversity and dedication to organic gardening practices.

My Weekly Preview caught up with Jerry ahead of the big event.

You have been presenting at the Queensland Garden Expo (QGE) for a number of years, what draws you back each time? – For me, the QGE is the gardeners’ Christmas gathering: every keen gardener, grower and retailer converges there.

What makes the Queensland Garden Expo unique compared to other gardening events? – The QGE offers the widest range of plants of any expo in Australia, and it is the largest garden
expo in northern Australia. It has kept growing its fan and exhibitor base and, remarkably, remains affordable and accessible, opening up the joy of gardening to the widest range of people possible. If you have a gardening question to ask, it will be solved.

What role do you see events like the Queensland Garden Expo playing in promoting environmental sustainability and conservation efforts? – The expo gives us a reason to get together and to share. There is a palpable thirst for intellectual knowledge, lived experience and a passion for all living things. It fills the Nambour Showgrounds. It is just an awesome, uplifting experience.

How does the expo celebrate Queensland’s unique climate and flora? – More Australians garden in a frost-free climate than any other climate zone and the QGE is the only place in Australia where warm-climate plants and gardening get the treatment they deserve. Queensland has the widest range of climate zones of any state or territory and our flora is well represented by societies and retailers. There is simply no equivalent to the QGE.

What do you hope attendees take away from their experience at the Queensland Garden Expo? – I always look forward to getting feedback, like ’that tip you gave me worked!’. That justifies my existence. I love being useful.

Tickets are available for purchase at qldgardenexpo.com.au.

BY THE NUMBERS

  • Four-day event from July 4-7
  • 40,000-plus attendees
  • More than seven hectares of gardening inspiration
  • 360-plus exhibitors and displays, including 55 nurseries
  • 100-plus free lectures and demonstrations
  • eight live speaker stages
  • 50,000 plants for sale each day.

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