Paradise for garden fans as plant expo takes root

FOR SALE: Barbara Parker, Joyce Pole and Kay O’Grady (centre) with the 2.7m by 12.1m mural.
FOR SALE: Barbara Parker, Joyce Pole and Kay O’Grady (centre) with the 2.7m by 12.1m mural. Sarah Harvey

GREEN thumbs from across Australia have flocked to Ipswich to unearth gardening treasures and meet fellow garden enthusiasts.

From cacti to anthuriums, a wide selection of subtropical plants were on display this weekend at the annual Ipswich Plant Expo.

The event, now in its third year, transformed the Ipswich Turf Club into a plant lovers' paradise and attracted almost 4000 visitors.

Event co-ordinator Ruth O'Dowd said the expo was the only one of its kind in south-east Queensland and included more than 100 exhibitors.

It also featured presentations from some of the best-known horticultural experts.

"We had about 3000 people attend last year," Ms O'Dowd said. "So it's growing each year."

She said the expo's ongoing popularity demonstrated how people were becoming more conscious about their gardens and wanting to learn ways to beautify them.

"The vendors we had this year supplied reasonably-priced, quality products," she said.

"The sales were so outstanding that some of them are already booking sites for next year."

Another attraction at the expo was the display of the world's largest bark picture created by the Art in Bark association. The picture, called The Olgas, was created by 88 members of the organisation using different shades of paper bark collected from melaleuca trees. Art in Bark president Barbara Parker said it had taken the group 61,760 hours to make the 2.7m high by 12.1m long picture.

"People are generally awestruck when they see the size of it," Mrs Parker said.

"We've toured across Australia, but now we are looking to sell it, because we don't have enough members to keep carting it around."

For any art collectors interested in buying the picture, its price tag is $50,000 - only it must remain in Australia.

Topics:  ipswich plant expo

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