Town blooms as show opens

Geraldton Guardian - - News -

The daz­zling dis­plays of the Out­back Bloom — Mullewa’s Wild­flower Fes­ti­val are ex­pected to draw thou­sands of vis­i­tors through the gates this week­end.

In its 31st year, the four-day fes­ti­val, run by the Mullewa Tourist Cen­tre and Mullewa Com­mu­nity Re­source Cen­tre, will fea­ture a va­ri­ety of wild­flower dis­plays, art ex­hi­bi­tions, work­shops and wild­flower walks.

Many months of prepa­ra­tion have gone into the fes­ti­val, with vol­un­teers be­gin­ning to scout the area for plant species from as early as March.

Vol­un­teers, equipped with picker’s li­cences, then spend the days lead­ing up to the event busily col­lect­ing the plants, with al­most 100 species on dis­play this year.

This year’s dis­play will fea­ture eight species of the fa­mous wreath flower and many bush va­ri­eties.

Mullewa CRC co-or­di­na­tor Al­li­son Hem­s­ley said it had been a dif­fi­cult year for some va­ri­eties of wild­flow­ers, but had been one of the best for the wreath flower.

“Dur­ing Christ­mas time, over the sum­mer months, we had about six inches of rain which means there’s some good sub-soil mois­ture,” she said.

“That means some species with smaller roots haven’t been able to come up but oth­ers like the wreath flower, which have root sys­tems of sev­eral me­tres have thrived.

“This is most def­i­nitely one of the best years we’ve had for the va­ri­ety. We’ve scouted even fur­ther than usual and have called farm­ers in the area to see if we can find cer­tain species on their prop­er­ties.

“The vol­un­teers have worked hard to put to­gether a wide va­ri­ety of lo­cal plant species.” Sev­eral work­shops will be on show dur­ing the event, in­clud­ing a paint­ing dis­play by artist-in-res­i­dence He­len Ansell and a flower ar­rang­ing work­shop from 3.30pm to­day.

Sev­eral vol­un­teers with a vast knowl­edge of lo­cal his­tory will also be avail­able to speak with. Mrs Hem­s­ley said the fes­ti­val was the most an­tic­i­pated event of the year.

The fes­ti­val is open at the Mullewa Town Hall from 9am to­day, Satur­day and Sun­day.

En­try is $5 for adults, $3 for se­niors and $1 for chil­dren.

Pic­ture: Jus­tine Rowe

Coun­cil­lors Tar­leah Thomas and Jen Critch hold fes­ti­val sam­ples in Wed­nes­day night’s of­fi­cial open­ing.

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