Nature as Art and Inspiration: The Carnival of Flowers

Carnival of FlowersToowoomba, one of Australia’s garden cities, is located west of Queensland’s capital city of Brisbane and a great host to The Carnival of Flowers. A university and cathedral city, Toowoomba residents also enjoy its 150 spectacular parks and gardens. Situated high on the crest of the Great Dividing Range, with a cooler climate and rich volcanic soil, ‘Absolutely everything will grow here,’ say the locals.

To savour the delights of the festival, our first stop includes the magnificent grounds of The Laurel Bank Park. Here an incredible free-growing meadow has been planted. Visitors wander amongst the cacophony of colour as they stroll through tulips, daisies, pansies, and an arbour, festooned with lavender wisteria.

Our next stop at the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery leads to a room where landscape and botanical paintings from the gallery’s collection have been hung. Scattered among the pictures are stunning sculptural floral works, created by members of the Toowoomba Ikebana Group. Decorated in the Japanese style, each piece showcases fresh flowers, leaves, and branches – all appearing in their natural and individual beauty.

Laurel Park Wisteria

Laurel Park Wisteria


After a tasty outdoor lunch and a strong coffee, we decide to spend the remainder of our day in the city’s heart. Here we plan to visit Queens Park, Toowoomba’s premier site. This key landmark is the focus for the 76th Carnival of Flowers, its Flower Market, the Food and Wine Festival, and a Live Concert Series. Many activities are happening here.

We enter the park through the lovely Cherry Blossom Walk into the great expanse of a 19th century Victorian park and botanical garden. It is styled as a parterre garden, presenting an arrangement of ornamental flower beds in various sizes, shapes, and colours. All are contained within a canopy of stately trees and areas of expansive green lawns.

Cherry Blossom Walk

Cherry Blossom Walk


During the 2015 Carnival of Flowers, more than 100,000 visitors flocked to Toowoomba from far and wide. It was a delight to see so many return again this year, absorbing the beauty and peaceful ambience of the park. Cameras were working away in every pair of hands as the children roamed and played freely among the parterre beds. The weather was also kind as the day was warm and sunny. We finally left the park on a botanical high and next year we plan to do it all over again.

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. … There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring


Mary Mageau

Mary Mageau

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