26 June 2020

Floriade bulbs begin to spring up around Canberra

| Dominic Giannini
Floriade 2019

Floriade will not be able to take place at its usual location in Commonwealth Park this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. Photo: Floriade 2019.

It’s no secret that Floriade will look a little different in Canberra this year, and Canberra is already starting to look different because of Floriade, with bulbs already springing up around the city.

When the Government announced that some 300,000 bulbs and annuals would be set aside to brighten up national institutions, hospitals and community organisations as a part of Floriade: Reimagined, Rebecca Scouller from the Kingston and Barton Residents’ Association (KBRA) put the petal to the metal.

“We quickly got in a submission not knowing if it was going to be successful and we were really lucky,” she said.

“We had over 8,000 annuals and bulbs to plant and had over 50 volunteers in high-vis vests staggered throughout the day and local businesses were fantastic.”

Volunteers from the ages of four to over 70 joined the effort in Kingston to plant and prepare the neighbourhood ahead of spring, although shopkeepers were often bearing the brunt of the watering work, some of whom needed to bring in personal water cubes from their farms and houses to water the bulbs.

“There are no easy watering access points here in Kingston so we had shopkeepers going out hand watering and we knew that we could not sustain that until September but we really wanted it to be a success,” Ms Scouller said.

Rebecca Scouler

Rebecca Scouller – Kingston and Barton Residents’ Association says she is grateful for Icon Water stepping in to help water some 8,000 bulbs in Kingston as part of Floriade: Reimagined. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

That’s when she reached out to Icon Water.

“As soon as we had contact with the residents’ group we knew that this was something we wanted to be involved with,” Icon Water’s General Manager Ray Hezkial said.

“We wanted to provide practical support at a ground level during a pretty hard time.”

Icon Water will supply recycled water to water the plants across Kingston, as well as providing a watering truck for the KBRA and 14 other community groups who were struggling to find watering facilities.

“For the remaining 57 community groups, we are very happy to provide some financial assistance to make Floriade the success we know it needs to be,” Mr Hezkial said.

But it’s not just community groups who will be benefitting from this year’s Floriade: Reimagined.

Icon Water's Hydration Girl

Icon Water’s Hydration Girl has stepped up to help the newly planted blubs reach maturity in spring. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Detainees from the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) have also begun planting bulbs, with more than 2,600 daffodil bulbs being planted in the last week alone, Corrections Minister Shane Rattenbury said.

“Despite the current climate, community groups and organisations have come together to ensure that Canberrans can still celebrate the beginning of Spring by spreading the blooms around the Capital,” Minister Rattenbury said.

And detainees are using it as a chance to get some fresh air and escape the colourless monotony on the inside.

“By getting out of the yard, it’s something to look forward to, it clears your head,” said Tom, a detainee at AMC.

Flowers are being planted between the AMC gate and the visitors building after ACT Parks and Conservation donated its leftover bulbs to the centre.

AMC detainee Tom (left) and Corrections Minister Shane Rattenbury (right) planting the bulbs outside the centre. Photo: supplied.

Bulbs are also being planted in garden beds or portable flower beds in Gungahlin, Woden, Tuggeranong, Weston Creek and Molonglo while wheelbarrows and pots are being placed at The Canberra Hospital, Calvary Hospital, University of Canberra Hospital, John James Hospital and Clare Holland House.

For more information about Floriade: Reimagined, including the location of bulbs around Canberra, visit Floriade Australia.

Original Article published by Dominic Giannini on The RiotACT.

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