Carnival of Flowers



And a carnival it was!

Such a riot of colour and flower varieties all over the parks and gardens of the city of Toowoomba, known very aptly as ‘the garden city’.

The city of Toowoomba perches on the crest of the Great Dividing Range, around 700 metres (2,300 ft) above sea level in the Darling Downs region of southern Queensland, Australia.

The rich volcanic soil and an average annual rainfall of 724 ml (28.5 in) help maintain the more than 150 public parks scattered across the city. The warm, humid, sub-tropical climate with sometimes very cool winters and cold winds means the change of seasons is more defined than the coastal areas where I live. Deciduous trees from around the world like, Jacaranda, Camphor Laurel and Plane trees line many of the city streets and parks, ensuring an autumn colour extravaganza.

There’s nothing like a spring garden festival for generating ideas to apply to one’s own garden. Of course the scale is quite different.

My garden is tiny whereas the gardens on display in Toowoomba are largely public parks and botanical gardens and some expansive private gardens. Even so, I came away with ideas on how to use space, contours, complementary planting; and how the use of light, shade and colour figures in creating illusions of depth, drama and mystery.

It was good to see the interest a festival such as this generates. I think Essex Tait, one of the Carnival’s founders would have been extremely proud of how it’s evolved. I had the pleasure of hearing the story of the festival’s inception from him years ago. Visitors from near and far attend by the busload. Some from overseas and others like us, from just a couple of hours drive away.


I am an observer at heart. I watch others as they interact with nature, with other people, with themselves; but mostly I watch myself. I’ve learned the most useful lessons this way although the woman who lives in my head can be a slow learner.

Beauty doesn’t conform to size. My heart swells in equal measure in the presence of the Carnival’s displays or the sight of a single miraculous bloom in my tiny garden. The miracle is no less because of scale.

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“All space is relative. There is no such thing as size. The telescope and the microscope have produced a deadly leveling of great and small, far and near. The only little thing is sin, the only great thing is fear!

(“The Jelly-Fish”)”
― David H. Keller





29 responses to “Carnival of Flowers

  1. I looked up reviews from various travel reaources; you know, general commenaries, mostly with brief summaries and standard images, followed at great length by “10 things to do” lists, most of which involved eating or drinking or both. Your photographs do so much more justice o the point of the festival for some (hopefully more than that)–the mysterious proliferation , the outpouring from the earth, the magical miracle of flowers arranged and tended by those who love them. All those parks and the perfect weather cinditions.–
    What a place, and with a memorable name. Thanks for the information and the photos!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Albert! I’m glad my post resonated with you. It was important to me to try and do the Carnival justice. I took many more photos as you can imagine. Only chose a few to try and convey the festival highlights.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t tell you how uplifting it was to be there, April. The Japanese garden near the university had suffered with the drought but even so, the serenity of the landscape was sublime, almost spiritual. The old trees in the parks, gardens and lining the city avenues with its art deco buildings and old Queenslander style houses make it a beautiful city. One gets the distinct feeling that residents are very garden proud. So it was more than just the flowers.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful! How special For you to hear the story of the carnival’s inception from Essex Tait. Yes, he would be proud to see how it has evolved but also proud to read your words of appreciation.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The nights are finally cool here in New England and the leaves are turning to their muted shades. Today I had an urge for a splash of vivid color and I, just now, came upon your Carnival post. It has filled me with lovely, floral scenes to dream on tonight. Thank you, Robyn.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Robyn, It does seem like the loveliest of Festivals. I’m afraid Iit would be overwhelming for me. When we went to Monet’s Giverny, a cold, rainy spring had kept the flowers from blooming earlier.. We arrived in June and the sun finally came out forcing everything to burst into color all at once. I ran around like a wild woman soaking it all in and finally settled in among the irises almost in tears, declaring to Charley that I felt I’d been too overstimulated. An understatement, if ever there was one! And yes, your pictures always give me sweet dreams – that is – when I actually do sleep.

        Liked by 1 person

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