Australia, Gardening

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers

If you have stopped here for information on the Carnival, you may be disappointed. I missed the Carnival of Flowers itself, so there are no pictures of the annual parade, but what I did see is stunning floral displays that are the dominant feature of this event in Toowoomba, a large country town, about an hour’s drive west of Brisbane, Australia. I arrived two days after the festival officially concluded. By the looks of the displays, the flowers are quite oblivious of the carnival’s end date.

The city of Toowoomba sits atop a mountain range and is blessed with cooler temperatures and rich volcanic soil, perfect for horticulture. The major horticultural event, The Carnival of Flowers, draws thousands of visitors to the city’s generous parks and gardens.

Whilst the historically wealthy country town has monolithic bluestone churches, funky alleys and quirky street art, it is the stunning floral display in late September that draws most of the region’s visitors.

Laurel Bank Park

Amongst neat and tidy lawns and prolific flower beds at Laurel Bank Park, on Hill Street, you will find plenty of seating for those who need a rest from taking a multitude of floral camera shots that one is apt to do given the spectacular displays.

Displays of Tulips, Poppies, Foxgloves and Hollyhocks take me back to memories of Denmark or The Netherlands, albeit without the rainy weather.

This is Australia, remember. The continent where it forgot how to rain!

Like many parts of Australia, Toowoomba has experienced, for many years, a severe water shortage. This has resulted in the Gardeners, at Laurel Bank Park, adopting stringent water-saving strategies and switching to growing more water-tolerant plants in order to maintain the floral displays to the expected standard. It seems that they have succeeded in their quest.

Topiary elephants, seals and the Leaning Tower of Pisa add a fantasy element to the gardens. Can you guess what this topiary represents? It is rather Australian and Danish!

Toowoomba Botanic Gardens

Cherry Blossoms line the Toowoomba Botanic Garden’s at Queens Park. The entry path offers the visitor a visual explosion of multi-coloured Ranunculus, inviting you to explore more of the gardens. The pathway then opens to rows and rows of flowering beds with daisies, violets and pansies.

It seems one lonely tulip bulb missed the memo.

Snapped at the right, or perhaps, the wrong moment. Street photography in Toowoomba can be surprising.

I have so many questions about the man’s pickle. Not a sign of a picnic basket or lunch box anywhere. Where was he keeping it? So random and fun!

There is so much our country towns can offer us. We only have to look closer, before lamenting we can not travel outside our own borders. This is another of the country towns that offer unique experiences, similar to Amandine Lavender farm at Bargara, near Bundaberg, which I posted about recently.

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67 thoughts on “Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers”

  1. I PISSED myself laughing at the bloke about to savagely bite a pickle in half ! I can only agree about all the questions. πŸ˜€
    The bloke next to him is consumed by his phone: seems we oldies are becoming as involved as today’s youth are with the damned things.
    Flowers beautiful.
    Have been to Townsville, when touring with a small film crew making a doco on The Daly-Wilson Big Band. What a month that was .. As we were nearly all ripped off our heads the whole time, I don’t remember much about it, other than the music. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I certainly caught him at the right moment it the wrong one perhaps? No age is immune to phone addiction! But, being a man at a flower display, he might sit there doing nothing if it wasn’t for the phone. I see plenty of older men sitting around in shopping centres looking dead bored, waiting for their wives to come out of target or Kmart.

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  2. Love the topiary in Laurel Bank are a few are a bit ambiguous. For informal shots in Queens park I tend to go for the hot young guys reading books under the trees. A lovely post about my home town and sometimes the best time to catch the flowers is just before and just after the carnival, fewer people and the gardens are still going strong.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree on the timing of our visit.I agree on the elephant topiary being somewhat ambiguous at first glance but I don’t recall seeing too many hot young guys under the trees and the pickle man doesn’t seem to fit that descriptor too well. The pickle does nothing to aid first impressions Lol.

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  3. Have to laugh at myself ! Lived for 13 years in the Northern Rivers and the Gold Coast . . . often went to Brisbane for theatre and concerts . . . but never ‘made it’ to Toowoomba. And, yet, having read and looked and talked to many about it I have that funny, niggling feeling that it could have been my ‘ideal spot’ in Australia . . . size, charm, climate and somehow an elegance . . . perchance the greenery plays quite a part . . .

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  4. Great post and I am glad you enjoyed the displays. Sadly, due to Covid we were unable to have our regular parade but I saw some great examples of local ingenuity and creativity to still create a floral atmosphere. I hope you come back again some time in the future and I agree with Sharon – we tend to visit the gardens before and after the rush.

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    1. Thank you Karen. I wasn’t aware the parade was cancelled but I am glad we were fortunate enough to visit this year. I will certainly be back if this year’s display is any indication of the visual feast. Toowoomba did well. We were impressed.

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  5. What a wonderful looking country town. I remember passing through Toowoomba years ago but obviously not long enough to see the gorgeous gardens. Loved the man and his pickle! πŸ˜‚

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    1. Thanks Miriam. I have lived in the south-east of Queensland for over 3 decades and this is the first time I
      have ever been to
      the Carnival of Flowers. Many small rural towns are overlooked in our rush to get to the capital or the beach. One good thing about Covid. People are exploring closer to home and finding gems like this.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Lovely flower displays and I also find myself very taken by the street art – the bull (?) with a tree growing out of his back looks especially intriguing! Love your photo of the ‘lost’ white tulip, and I agree totally about the man with a pickle – did he have it in his pocket?!

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    1. The surreal mural of the elephant and treehouse had me bemused. Apparently there are over 55 examples of murals or Street Art in Toowoomba. Who knew?
      I don’t quite understand the elephant reference myself.
      The mystery of the origin of the gherkin/pickle remains wide open to conjecture! Lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love the flowers in Toowoomba. My daughter lives there and I wish I could visit her when I want to. I see no one had guessed the Sydney Opera House but I guess now I have given it away πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Absolutely. “Where the bloody hell are ya?” Is an apt advertising slogan! Lol. And to be fair, it must seem a teribly long way away to Australia, given the very short distances between nations in Europe.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. My pleasure, Appeltjie. That is one of the great things about blogging – that is the ability to see and communicate with others around the world, whose paths with whom you might never otherwise cross. Are you fairly new to blogging?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes. I started by accident. My friend is a blogger. She belongs to a group of blogfriends who contributes to writing a story. I borrowed an idea from their fantasy enabling me to pen down a few childhood memories and meeting my beloved. She was ecstatic about it, published it into their storyline and that was it. I am used to people sitting up and paying attention when I play the church organ, but never before doing it to what I have to say. It still amazes me. But I started out with 5 followers and currently there are 17. As I said, amazing. And its in Afrikaans.

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    1. Thanks for your kind comment, Linda. I am so glad the pickle photo gave you a laugh. Laughing is so good for the soul! Toowoomba did put on a great show, and as one of the other bloggers said, also has some great street art, which I would have explored more of, had I known about it prior to my visit.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. No it wasn’t intentional to arrive two days later. I wasn’t paying attention to the start or finish date. It coincided with a free day for us and the fact that the festival just concluded meant that we could enjoy it without the crowds. I probably would go again at a similar time, given the opportunity.
      I quite agree on the foxgloves. They remind me so much of European/scandinavian travels.
      Thanks ever so much for your comment.

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  8. I’m pleased you enjoyed your visit to Toowoomba. There’s a lot to see and do here and carnival time is the perfect time to visit. I would like to say however, that with a population of more than 120,000 Toowoomba is definitely not a country town, even though people east of the Great Divide like to think so. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I was not aware of that. I thought it was larger than I had imagined. There are many other cities in Victoria and New South Wales like Woollongong and Bendigo/Ballarat that I thought were bigger. Thanks for that. I learnt something.

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