The theme for this 10 yearly celebration of horticulture was "Living Nature" and the setting in 45ha. (110a.) of lightly wooded agricultural land provided an appropriate environment for the 5 zones designed to show the links between nature and human well-being.
Coach loads of eager visitors might have overwhelmed the show but the infrastructure was excellent, and with plenty of spaces for sitting and eating, the crowds were simply swallowed up.
A cable car ride gave an exciting overview of the layout revealing the way the zones were connected by green paths or rides through the trees.
The Green Engine zone appealed the most to me. The Villa Flora held beautiful displays of orchids, amaryllis and kalanchoe, a plant that seems to be making a comeback in popularity. Outside the Easy Prairie Garden was starting to make a good display of perennials.
The emphasis was on sustainability, the efficient use of water and the re-use of materials. I particularly liked the trellis of woven branches and the large pots made of wood chips. A wooden shed with a green (planted) roof collected water from the gutters into a barrel by means of chains, an idea also seen at Chelsea this year.
As it was late in the season for spring bulbs and the summer perennials were only just beginning to make a display, the great sweep of colour that led to the theatre was largely composed of violas and forget-me-nots, simple flowers, easily available, but most effective.
And the sun shone - all in all, a day to remember.
Impressions of Floriade
A horticultural extravaganza made even more special by the lovely Spring sunshine!
Being entertained by three huge shimmering butterflies moving as they danced on stilts!
Strolling through wooded areas in dappled shade, surrounded by birdsong, anticipating the next surprise!
The sheer architectural elegance of the huge glass roofed Villa Flora. Inside, outstanding quality plants displayed with artistry, ranging from hanging wall gardens to dazzling zany flower art!
Gliding 30 metres above the ground in a cable car, taking in a spectacular panoramic view of the impressive landscaping and design of the park!
Innovative technology everywhere. One helping me to win a packet of seeds, to hopefully grow and so retain the memory of a truly inspirational visit!
More Impressions of Floriade
The sheer size of the 163 acre site chosen for Floriade 2012 was truly impressive. Mature pine forest skillfully divided into five themes, well signposted and walking distance to each given in minutes. Excellent organization, no litter and little queueing for restaurants or even the exceptionally clean toilets.
Most of the World Pavilions were disappointing, lacking content, and mostly only selling memorabilia. The cable car ride gave a wonderful overview of many attractions and brilliant landscaping, especially three multi-coloured flower beds each approximately 100’ x 20’ flowing upwards towards the Floriade Theatre. An orange metal Dragon (2012 being the year of the Dragon) spurting flames, steam rising from boulders, and a striped cow wearing flip flops, water wings and sunglasses kept children amused.
Of the 15 individual gardens, Luxembourg, with 7 green cyclists and 2 large green bottles using neatly clipped Lonicera, had my vote. Plentiful seating of all shapes and sizes was much appreciated as the temperature climbed to 25c.
Floriade cannot be compared with Chelsea or Hampton Court crowded with plants and flowers, but is very innovative and thought provoking.