Garden gates open to record crowds for 35th anniversary

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From small seedlings, big things grow and the Queensland Garden Expo is no exception ― the event started in 1984 with just 300 visitors and now it has bloomed to in excess of 40,000 over the three days.

The sun was shining for the 35th anniversary which showcased 360 incredible exhibitors including 55 nurseries, as well as 120 demonstrations and lectures.

The Expo has continued to be a massive drawcard for tourism on the Sunshine Coast for the last week of school holidays with 60 per cent of attendees arriving from outside of the region, some from as far as New Zealand.

Event Manager Marion Beazley said while it was too early to tally exact ticket sales, every indication was that this was the biggest Expo in the history of the event.

“Tickets can be purchased from various sources and we need to get the feedback to confirm actual numbers but I am confident that we’ve exceeded our numbers from previous years,” said Ms Beazley.

“This is the first year we’ve had the carpark full on the Sunday so the free workshops we had on offer seem to have been a crowd pleaser, which is very exciting. We also had more people coming into the Expo on two- and three-day passes with many wanting extra time to hear the line-up of speakers and explore the inspirational displays and exhibitors on offer.”

“I am always amazed by the diversity of the attendees; the event attracts young and old as well as thousands of families. People who are new to gardening can find expert advice in spades, and often walk away with a new challenge to grow their own while the avid gardeners are excited to build on their knowledge and expand their backyard.”

The Expo welcomed back crowd favourites like Sophie Thomson, Jerry Coleby-Williams, Claire Bickle and Paul West but also some new speakers who were buzzing to share their tips on gardening.

There was a hive of activity around Dr Tim Heard’s lectures as he explained the importance of bee-keeping.

“Gardening is not just about watering and the right sunlight; while that can help, we’re learning bees can truly transform your backyard,” said Ms Beazley.

“Visitors didn’t have to go far into the Expo to see just how many bees were flying around, especially in the Kitchen Garden section.

“Another new speaker, Professor Richard Drew who shared his tips on keeping fruit flies at bay, is adding to the wealth of expert advice this Expo is all about.

“Our visitors have helped to make this one of the longest-running gardening events in the country and we are thrilled with our 35th anniversary event.”

The Queensland Garden Expo is an annual event held every July. To find out more, please visit www.qldgardenexpo.com.au.