Queensland Garden Expo wins national award

TheAustralian Institute of Horticulture(AIH) has recognised theQueensland Garden Expoat an award ceremony hosted byABCGardening Australia’s Costa Georgiadis in Noosa on Friday 18 June.

Queensland’s premier gardening event won the award forGreen Space Events and Engagementand was one of four Queensland award recipients at the ceremony, which was postponed in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Queensland GardenExpoEvent Manager Marion Beazley said it had been wonderful to connect with other Queensland organisations within the horticulture industry and to showcase the Expo which is less than a month away from 9-11 July.

“The AIH is a prestigious group and it is an honour to be recognised for all the hard work that goes into making theQueensland Garden Expoa success after 36 years, especially alongside other well-deserving industry organisations,” Ms Beazley said.

“The award commends our commitment to building awareness for horticulture, which we achieve through our extensive program of activities covering a huge variety of topics — including the health and wellness benefits of gardening, a big focus on organic gardening and what we can do as gardeners to promote wildlife and beneficial bugs in our gardens.”

Costa Georgiadis, who was on the Sunshine Coast to present the awards, is also one of the most popular speakers onQueensland Garden Expo’sspeaker program.

“TheQueensland Garden Expohas stood the test of time and continues to attract gardening enthusiasts from all over Australia and even New Zealand, so I am really delighted to have presented the award to Marion and her dedicated team,” Mr Georgiadis said.

“This is one of my favourite annual events as it gives anyone who comes through the gates access to a wealth of knowledge and experience from some of Australia’s absolute gardening gurus. You don’t only have the diverse range of over 40 speakers available, but also experts from the 55 nurseries exhibiting and the Australian Institute of Horticulture members who volunteer in the Plant Clinic to give practical tips and advice to anyone looking for answers.

“This is an event that leaves you feeling inspired and excited about what you can achieve in your garden and for me it’s a privilege to be able to present this award to the remarkable team who makes it all happen.”

The Queensland Garden Expo attracts over 40,000 people over the 3-day event with approximately 65 per cent of visitors coming from outside the region. This equates to a direct economic impact of around $8.5 million to the region each year.

Ms Beazley said the free kids activities introduced over the years had seen the Expo become a firm favourite not only for avid gardeners but also with beginners and families.

“We are passionate about the next generation of budding green thumbs so we work with schools and have developed fun activities including special presentations for kids and workshops to keep them engaged,” Ms Beazley said.

“Bli Bli State School has a free site in the Kitchen Garden each year to showcase their school’s gardening activities and we have a range of activities for children to participate in at the event. Gardening is a fun, educational and physical activity for kids to help them learn about biodiversity in their backyard, how plants grow, the seasonal nature of plants, how soil and water impact on the plants and a range of other things.”

The AIH also recognised the Expo’s efforts in helping the community – particularly charities – including Guide Dogs Queensland, Queensland Cancer Council, RACQ Lifeflight Helicopter Rescue and Compass Institute.

“We have always been very community focused and this is our way of giving back by assisting them to raise their profile and raise funds through their own sites at the event — this is a major fundraiser for many of the groups,” Ms Beazley said.

“We make donations to about 14 different service clubs and community groups who assist us in staging the event as well.”

Senior members of the AIH will once again be volunteering at theQueensland Garden Expoat the Plant Health Clinic, providing free advice to hundreds of visitors over the three days.

TheQueensland Garden Expois welcoming 40 guest speakers including crowd favourites Costa Georgiadis, Sophie Thomson, Jerry Coleby-Williams, Claire Bickle, Dr Kevin Redd and Phil Dudman, as well as newcomersABC Gardening Australiapresenter Millie Ross and plant medicinal expert Associate Professor Rohan Davis joining the line-up.

The event will see 350 exhibitors — including 55 nurseries with over 60,000 plants on sale each day — on show from 9-11 July at the Nambour Showgrounds. Tickets are $20 for adults, while children under 15 are free.

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