Camellia show sprouts beyond green thumbs
IT'S not often you put flowers, vintage cars and bikes, crafts and produce, entertainment and a Japanese tea ceremony together in one sentence, not to mention one venue.
Unless, that is, you're talking about Toowoomba's annual Camellia Show and Garden Expo - the biggest camellia show in Queensland.
On again over the weekend of July 15-16, show president Kevin Cotterell said his committee was "over the moon at the way the event has grown in reputation".
Busloads of people arrive in town specifically for the show, with 3500 attending over the two days last year.
The attraction of camellias, Kevin said, is that they do so well in the Darling Downs soil and climate, flower from mid-March to August, and remain attractive year-round with their "lovely glossy leaves".
Once having a reputation for liking only shady conditions, these days camellia varieties can be found for any spot, including full sun.
For those with a penchant for the species, this year's show sees the release of a new variety, the Ballerina Camellia, so you can be one of the first to get your hands on this tall, slender breed that likes the spotlight (in the form of full sun).
But this show goes far beyond the hundreds of camellias on show, with an expansive garden expo featuring plants and products for all green thumbs.
There's also a range of guest experts including conservationist and ABC Gardening Australia's Jerry Coleby-Williams, who trained at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, Gardening for the Good Life's Claire Bickle, who is passionate about organic gardening and sustainable living, and Toowoomba's own gardening guru Brian Sams.
This year's show has a Japanese theme, including displays of bonsai and Ikebana, as well as a Japanese tea ceremony - which is actually not so unusual when you realise tea is a type of camellia.
The show opens on Saturday with a display of Minis and Harley Davidsons, as well as other vintage and veteran cars and bikes.
There will be music presentations throughout the weekend, as well as a Red Hatters' Parade on Sunday and celebrity flower arranging.
This year's feature winter garden is at Stirling House, Leslie St in Rangeville, and belongs to Colin Fitzgerald, whose garden includes almost 100 camellias - over half of which are currently in bloom. It also boasts the legendary Golden Camellia - the only known specimen in Toowoomba.
Colin will open his house to the public in conjunction with the show from 10am to 4pm.
Entry is $8 for the show and expo, $5 for the winter garden or $10 for both. Funds raised go to the Toowoomba Hospice.
For more information go to www.toowoombacamelliashow.com.