Green thumbs unite at gardening extravaganza plus bonus citrus tips

Queensland Gardening ExpoGardeners across Australia and New Zealand are once again counting down to one of the country’s most impressive gardening events which will see over 30,000 visitors converge on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast for the 29th Queensland Garden Expo from 5-7 July 2013.
The event, which attracts both the most avid and the most amateur gardeners, offers a jam-packed program including free lectures and demonstrations on a diverse range of gardening topics as well as the wares of over 360 exhibitors and more than 55 nurseries selling over 40,000 plants per day.
Queensland Garden Expo Event Manager, Marion Beazley believes this year’s event will once again raise the bar offering visitors the latest in gardening tools, accessories, garden art, plant clinic advice and more.
“Gardening continues be one of the most popular past-times in Australia.  We love to grow things, whether we have an interest in growing our own fruit and vegetables, cultivating a beautiful rose garden or surrounding ourselves with pot plants to create a more natural and beautiful environment,” Ms Beazley said.
“The Queensland Garden Expo offers some of the country’s most knowledgeable experts as speakers and provides an exceptional range of exhibitors to meet your every need.  Those coming to the Expo tell us the reason our visitor numbers keep growing is because they keep coming back year after year and they keep telling others about what’s on offer – we are proud to offer our visitors something new every year to meet their ever-changing gardening needs.
The speaker program is offered across eight live stages and includes many high profile gardening experts such as Costa Georgiadis of ABC Gardening Australia fame who is always very popular, ABC Radio Host Annette McFarlane, Garden Guru Phil Dudman,  4BC Gardening Talkback host, Clair Levander and Jerry Colby-Williams also regular Gardening Australia presenter, to name but a few.  The Expo will also welcome a new speaker to this year’s with Angus Stewart from Gardening Australia sharing his vast knowledge of Australian native plants which has become an increasingly popular topic over the years.
A new addition to the Garden Expo weekend this year is the Gardeners and Gourmets Celebrity Dinner which will be held on the evening of Saturday, July 6 at the Novotel Twin Waters Resort.  The ticketed event will offer guests the opportunity to hear their favourite gardening presenters and to speak to leading gardening experts while enjoying the great local produce on offer as well as entertainment and giveaways.
“We come from humble beginnings.  When the Expo started in 1984 as a half-day event with only 30 exhibitors, five workshops and a plant clinic it attracted around 300 locals so it’s fantastic that 29 years later we are so highly regarded and placed amongst the top gardening events in the country,” said Marion.
“Our commitment to offering great products across all areas of gardening as well as a wealth of information from an excellent selection of gardening experts makes the Expo a one-stop shop, whether you’re coming along to get the first look at new release plants being launched by the nurseries or you’re wanting to know how to get started with your first vegie patch. There’s something for everyone and the Expo provides a great day out for the whole family.”
Other highlights include the Giant Kitchen Garden which is once again expected to prove popular with more people wanting to grow their own food, the Living Backyard feature which demonstrates how you can create a biodiverse environment in your own back yard and the brand new Gardeners and Gourmets stage which will give visitors great tips on growing their own produce and turning it into delicious gourmet meals.  As always, the children’s playground and the multitude of food stalls and entertainers ensure the Expo is a great day out for the whole family.
The Queensland Garden Expo is held at the Nambour Showgrounds, Coronation Avenue, Nambour.  For more information please visit www.qldgardenexpo.com.au.
Getting great advice is a big drawcard at the Expo, here’s some great tips on successfully growing citrus.
EXPO EXTRA:  Top Ten Tips for Growing Successful Citrus in the backyard – by Peter Young, Birdwood Nursery

  1. Grow the fruit you want to eat. If you like to eat what you’re growing you’ll look after it better.
  2. Choose a variety that will grow well in our climate. Some citrus varieties that come from colder climates are susceptible to brown spot disease, so make sure you pick something that can survive a Queensland summer such as Imperial or Emperor Mandarins.
  3. Want more than one type of fruit but don’t have space for more trees? Try planting four trees in the one planting hole and they’ll grow as one tree with four separate trunks. Choose types that mature at different times so you can pick fruit all year round!
  4. Fruitscape… or at least don’t plant everything in the one spot. When you concentrate everything in the one spot, all the pests come to that spot as well so spread fruit trees throughout your garden.
  5. Fertilise citrus in June, August and November.   If you fertilise during the rainy months, the nutrients will promptly be washed away.
  6. Fertilise the whole root area. So many people only fertilise the drip line but you need to spread fertiliser from the stem to the outside branches.
  7. Plant when the weather becomes cooler.  From May to September is the best time to plant in Queensland because the Citrus Leaf Miners are dormant.
  8. Select the right root stock. There are seven different root stocks commonly used for citrus and the secret is to get the right one for your plant. Make sure you are buying from a reputable source so you can get good advice and your tree can live for 60 plus years!
  9. Another great alternative for those with limited space is a Dwarf Citrus Tree. Use either Trifoliata or Flying Dragon root stock for these varieties for tubs or in the garden.
  10. Build up, not down! If you plant too deeply, the tree will get Collar Rot. Don’t dig  a big hole and fill it up with better soil and fertiliser, instead mound up on top of the ground and then plant.