Gardening / A bloomin’ good idea

Could every business in Civic look like this during Floriade?

I’M just back from England where I saw the amazing floral displays of the month-long “Britain in Bloom” competition.

Cedric Bryant.

Three thousand towns, villages and communities take part each year to show off their environmental awareness and horticultural achievements, with 70-80  selected for the finals.

These days it’s one of Europe’s largest campaigns for the environment. It was  initiated by the British Tourist Board in 1963 and based on the “Fleurissement de France”, which was ordered by Gen Charles de Gaulle in 1959 to brighten the countryside of France.

Since 2002, “Britain in Bloom” has been organised by the Royal Horticultural Society and more than 200,000 volunteers get together to green, clean and plant their local areas in conjunction with the “Keep Britain Tidy” competition. Tourists flock from Britain and all over Europe to see the event as everyone gets into the act from shops, offices, pubs and hotels all competing to outdo each other in their floral displays. Even the churches and cathedrals have mind-blowing floral displays.

Even the bus shelters are decorated at Tatton Park, an historic estate in Cheshire, UK. Photo by RHS/Isobel Coulter

The idea probably wouldn’t work across Australia, but it could happen in Canberra if the businesses and organisations in Civic got together in a combined effort to do similar floral displays during the month of Floriade (mid-September to mid-October).

Every decorated pub in Britain enjoys increased revenue as they keep the floral displays going not just for the festival but for the whole summer.

Sightseers spend weekends travelling from village to village viewing the floral displays.

Inspired by the British experience, the Kingston Hotel puts on a fantastic display of floral hanging baskets. Well done. It’s worth seeing to get an idea of how Civic could perhaps one day look during Floriade.

IN Britain the forest trade body Confor has called for a change in the number of trees planted in England and Wales after the Scottish government announced plans to raise the number of trees it plants by one third, from 22 million to 33 million a year by 2025. For a small country this is a staggering figure and I am sure relatively puts our tree-planting numbers to shame.


  • Once the acid lovers have flowered (rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas etcetera) feed them as the next year’s buds start to form almost immediately.
  • Very important: don’t prune deciduous trees between now and October 21 when the sap is rising or the wound will bleed, which will inhibit the recovery of the wound.
  • The best indicator of when frosts are over is when an elderberry Sambucus nigra starts to flower.
  • It’s planting time for gladioli. For continuous flowering, plant a few each week. Only water if it’s very dry.

One Response to “Gardening / A bloomin’ good idea”

  1. September 16, 2017 at 4:12 pm #

    Hello Cedric, My name is Byam Wight and for over 8 years I coloured Civic for 5 months over Summer with over 2000 Petunia’s hanging from over 420 light poles throughout the Canberra CBD.

    Unfortunately the funding for it dried up over a year ago. I would like to forward on to you a few pics to show what it looked like if you could forward me an email address. A real shame it was discontinued.

    By the way, I was the instigator of the Kingston Hotel flowers when I did a demo for them many years ago.

    Regards, Byam.

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