• Bloomin' beautiful.... just the beginning for Floriade 2016

    Bloomin' beautiful.... just the beginning for Floriade 2016

  • Dorothy Barclay and Floriade's master gardener Andrew Forster

    Dorothy Barclay and Floriade's master gardener Andrew Forster

  • Brendan Nelson and Charlotte Harper

    Brendan Nelson and Charlotte Harper

  • Lynette Rochford and Dana Casimaty

    Lynette Rochford and Dana Casimaty

  • Loul Moxam celebrates the launch with flowers in her hair for Floraide

    Loul Moxam celebrates the launch with flowers in her hair for Floraide

  • Peter Casimaty, Lou Moxam and Scott Gooding

    Peter Casimaty, Lou Moxam and Scott Gooding

  • Diane Percy and Sally Coyle from the Heart Foundation

    Diane Percy and Sally Coyle from the Heart Foundation

  • Darby Sullivan and Joshua Strachan

    Darby Sullivan and Joshua Strachan

  • ABC's John Barrington and Sarah Malone

    ABC's John Barrington and Sarah Malone

  • Now that's a backflip

    Now that's a backflip

  • Wharehouse Circus....giving it a whirl.

    Wharehouse Circus....giving it a whirl.

  • Stuck in the gravel.....

    Stuck in the gravel.....

  • Lucille the Llama

    Lucille the Llama

Floriade has opened with its 29th year of tulips, hyacinths, English daisies, pansies et al busting to bloom in unison but rather restrained in what has been a bloomin’ wet winter we’d rather forget. But it will happen, it will again be glorious and we’ll troop along for all the ancillary goings-on that make this festival of flowers something to be proud of.

NightFest will bring some extras to the table this year with a Marketplace of food, wine and a beer bazaar hosted by The Kitchen Company Tasting Plate featuring and celebrating local makers. There’ll be a Hampton’s-Style Garden Party where you’re asked to dress in traditional garden party chic – which I reckon no one will be too sure what that means – but you can sashay about on 24th September, 1 October or 8 October for those opportunities to sip a glass of champagne. Hampers can be ordered and heels would be a distinct impediment.

There’s lots of healthy stuff you can get amongst with early morning pavement pounding, Sunday yoga and you’ll be supporting the Heart Foundation. But best of all Floraide is about stimulating the senses, reinvigorating and ripping off the layers of winter clobber to get some sun in the bones and smiles on the faces of those who love all things pertaining to spring.

And hopefully by the end of this 29th the NCA and the ACT Government will have finally figured out where Floriade should be, permanently. It’s the best, biggest and most successful flower show in the Southern Hemisphere, it works well in Commonwealth Park and the new portable flower boxes have solved the dirt shifting saga form one year to the next.

Floriade continues until 16 October and NightFest is 28 September to 2 October.