Stop and smell the roses has always been my motto in life. Nothing brings me greater joy than flowers and spending time amongst them. Like Alice down the rabbit hole, I quite curiously find myself having conversations with them and calling them by their pretty names as if they were ladies. When I saw the posters for the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show I wondered however I had overlooked this gorgeous event that has been running in Melbourne for 24 years.
The theme for 2018 is Immerse Your Senses, seeking to inspire all five senses – taste, touch, sight, smell and sound. It was a beautiful autumnal morning, warm and mild. Children were chirping and doing cartwheels around the fountain, men walked around arm in arm with their mothers and grandmothers, young couples picked out vegetable seedlings to grow at home, and other like me, happy and content to meander through the wonderful stalls soaking up every detail.
Held in the magnificent Carlton Gardens with indoor exhibits in the opulent Royal Exhibition Building. The building alone is a beautiful sight to see, but when you fill it with thousands of fresh roses and floral displays it is even more beautiful. The Royal Exhibition Building was completed in 1880 for Melbourne’s very first international fair. Exhibitions became immensely popular during the Victorian period as they provided the British Empire with a grand platform to celebrate their prosperity and ingenuity by showcasing their marvels of the era. “Marvellous Melbourne” flourished and grew significantly during this time due to the vast wealth acquired during the Victorian gold rush and many stately buildings and parks were commissioned during this time, including Carlton Gardens and this lovely pavilion.
The interior of the Royal Exhibition building has been meticulously restored and now plays host to hundreds of fairs and events during the year. Thankfully the Royal Exhibition Building was inscribed on the World Heritage list in 2004, becoming the first building in Australia to achieve World Heritage listing. Is it just me or does this building just scream Queen Victoria? Most of my favourite buildings in Melbourne were built during this time and I just love that we have some semblance of historical architecture amongst the modern concrete jungle and that these buildings are now being protected and restored for people to enjoy for many more years to come.
Further to the beautiful floral displays and landscape gardens, there was a main stage inside with industry experts presenting on a range of gardening topics. You could even take a floral arrangement class with a group of friendly professional florists.