Buds bloom for Toowoomba charity
THE annual Toowoomba Camellia Show and Garden Expo on July 21-22 is this year looking to both history and the future.
Show president Kevin Cotterell said the event had moved onto the TAFE quadrangle, with the bigger area allowing non-stop entertainment and speakers across two stages, more room than ever for the 3500 people who attend each year, including additional seating and improved access for those with mobility issues, as well as future expansion.
In a coup for the show, this year's special guest is the renowned Dr Stephen Utick, BSc Dip Hort Sc MScSoc MLitt MA PhD, an Australian director for the International Camellia Society, inaugural chair of the ICS Committee of Historic Camellia Conservation, Camellias Australia secretary and founder of Camellia Ark Australia, dedicated to tracing and preserving the country's rarest camellias.
Lynette Shailer, one of the show co-ordinators, urged people to take advantage of Dr Utick's presence to bring in camellia samples (30cm long, including leaves and buds if possible) for identification.
Lynette had just one camellia in her garden when she moved to Toowoomba in 1977, an Aspasia Macarthur, the origins of which date back to the 1840s, and which she believes to be about 60 years old.
But it didn't take long before she was hooked, and she now boasts about 200 camellias, including at least 80 larger varieties. So, what is the attraction of the camellia?
Lynette said it was a combination of the beauty of the flowers, the fact there were thousands of varieties, that after a little TLC in the first five years or so, they were very hardy, were a manageable size and flowered annually in winter when there was often little garden colour.
Lynette paid tribute to the origins of the show, originally run by the St Andrew's Hospital Ladies Auxiliary, and passed on through Sr Frances Flint to Joan Falvey as a fundraiser for Toowoomba Hospice, to which funds still go.
"You can't grow something unless someone has planted the seed in the first place," said Lynette, who has been closely involved with the show since 2004.
The show opens both days at 9am, with the Lovett's garden open from 10am-4pm. Show entry is $8, the winter garden $5, or see both for $10.
For mor details, go to: www.toowoombacamellia show.com.