I f the sight of flowers and plants en masse doesn’t lure you to Albert Hall in Launceston next weekend, chances are the aroma of sizzling sausages and good coffee will.
Both gardeners and blooms are set to fill historic Albert Hall as the second Blooming Tasmania Flower & Garden Festival opens its doors next Saturday and Sunday, bringing together specialist nurseries, suppliers and garden groups with speakers and floral artists.
Launched last year, organisers are hoping the Launceston-based festival becomes a fixture on the Tasmanian spring gardening calendar. The team have upped the food stakes, but it’s not all cappuccinos and cakes. Step inside to find a good selection of heritage tomatoes ready to grow in your garden. The tomato seedlings have been grown by the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and include varieties selected for their suitability to Tasmanian conditions.
I fell for these heritage tomatoes last year. I bought up big and had excellent crops, especially from Stupice and Black Krim, both cold-tolerant heritage varieties. This year, I have my eye on Jaune Flamme, which is a tasty orange variety, and Legend, a delicious red tomato that a friend swears by.
Other tomatoes on the RTBG’s stand are the large red Money Maker variety, along with the smaller fruiting Tommy Toe, Principe Borghese, Yellow Pear, Green Zebra and Black Cherry. With so many options, it might be time to extend the tomato patch or set up some large pots.
New to this year’s event is a Q&A stand where gardeners can have mystery plants identified and learn how to combat bugs and solve other garden problems. If you have questions about growing tomatoes or anything plant-related, jot them down and bring them along.
KOKEDAMA HAS A BALL
There are new exhibitors venturing into Albert Hall. A kokedama display by Kara Lewis from Homespun Succulents is sure to inspire you to look at succulents and indoor plants with a designer’s eye.
Kokedama are hanging or standing plants displayed with their root systems bound attractively in string, and Lewis specialises in creating simple but delightful living sculptures following the Japanese method.
“I have 150-plus plants that I am selling at the festival,” she says.
Lewis, who also has a range of coasters and locally made shelving designed to help display kokedoma indoors, has been selling her creations for just two years.
It began as a hobby with a stall selling 10 to 20 plants at the Evandale Markets but has become a full-time business with 10 outlets across Tasmania. She has also just launched her range in Melbourne.
As well as modern kokedamas and oldfashioned tomatoes, local nurseries will be selling a range of specialist perennials, clematis, bulbs and native plants.
BOTANICAL ARTIST AT WORK
The botanical artists have been a hit on the Blooming Tasmania Flower & Garden Festival Facebook page and are sure to attract a crowd at the show. Ten Tasmanian botanical artists are displaying their talents at the festival with works in watercolour, oil and acrylic.
One brave artist, Robert Gower from Barrington, will be displaying his graphite work and also be drawing at the show. He has been studying botanical art for a little over a year and is keen to demonstrate techniques he has mastered.