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Garden Precinct to sparkle in new location

Shopping for beautiful blooms, presentations by guest speakers, hands-on workshops, and fossicking for precious gemstones are just a few of the exciting activities planned for the new Garden Precinct at this year’s Laidley Spring Festival.

Held over two of the festival’s three days (September 6-7), families will be able to soak up the sunshine while browsing the precinct’s many market stalls and exhibitions in its new outdoor location at the Laidley Recreational Reserve.

The Garden Precinct was previously held at the Laidley Cultural Centre, however the Centre is out of action with structural damage from a severe thunderstorm that hit late last year.

Lockyer Valley Regional Council Mayor, Cr Tanya Milligan said the Spring Gardening Fair will be a one-stop-shop for avid gardeners.

“The Garden Precinct is one of the festival’s most popular events because it really encapsulates our beautiful region in the springtime,” Mayor Milligan said.

“Here, you will find lots of beautiful, colourful flowers, and lots of friendly locals who will only be too happy to share their passion with you.”

Laidley Garden Club President Eileen Zahnow said she is excited to start planning the Spring Gardening Fair, with the Garden Precinct a must-see attraction for locals and visitors.

“I had a positive meeting with the Council team and have seen how the site will be set up, which will be located near the Scout Den surrounded by lots of walking paths, making the site wheelchair friendly and accessible,” Eileen said.

“There will be a big marquee set up, so you won’t be able to miss us.

“We will have more than 80 stallholders selling everything from flowers and plants to hand painted pots, metal garden ornaments, ceramics, mosaics and even bird baths.

“Bunnings will also be there to host activities for the kids, which may be potting seedlings or colouring activities.”

Eileen has also invited several guest speakers who will discuss a wide range of topics such as different gardening techniques, and how to care for native bees.

One of the guest speakers will be Ipswich resident Claire Bickle, who has worked in the horticultural industry for more than 20 years.

Claire has a Diploma in Horticulture and an Advanced Design Certificate in Permaculture Design, has taught horticulture at Tafe, delivered sustainable living seminars at libraries across South East Queensland, is an executive committee member of the Horticultural Media Association Qld, and has written articles for multiple publications including subTropical Gardening Magazine, Good Organic Gardening, and the ABC’s Chook Magazine specials.

Claire will share her top tips when she makes her debut at the Festival on Saturday.

“One of the biggest tips I always tell people who are interested in gardening is to start small with just one patch and go from there,” Claire said.

“Check your soil, make sure it has good drainage, talk to your local nursery to find the right plants that will be best suited to your surroundings, and then work on a good watering regime.

“Small steps and then success leads to greater things.”

According to Claire, now is the best time to start working on your garden so it is ready in time for spring.

“We are fortunate in Queensland that our winters are not as bad as the southern states, so with our balmy weather, you can start planting now,” Claire said.

“When you see lots of pretty gardens in bloom in September, that’s because everything was thought-out and planted months before.

“That doesn’t mean you can’t garden in spring at all – you will just have to plant things which are already flowering, but they will still look beautiful in your garden.”

Attendees will also get the chance to chat to members from the Gatton Lapidary Club, who will host their Spring Gem Show at the same time.

Gatton Lapidary Club President Leon Steinhardt said the Club will have its own area with trade stalls selling everything from handcrafted jewellery to gemstones, opals, crystals, agates, thunder eggs and more, as well as informative displays.

“The Gem Show is a good opportunity for people to come and learn more about fossicking and the many incredible specimens that are found right here in the Lockyer Valley,” he said.

“We will have lots of displays selling gems that have been cut and polished by our members, meaning you can pick up a one-of-a-kind piece to take home with you, as well as fun fossicking activities for kids.

“We encourage the kids to get their hands dirty and fossick for rocks, which they can do with their own little jar.

“The kids always scream in excitement when they find treasures they can keep,” he said.

If you find yourself getting hungry, there will also be food vans where you can order a coffee and a bite to eat.

There will be ample parking for buses and vehicles, with car parks available all within a short stroll from the Recreational Reserve.

There will also be a free shuttle bus that will run regularly between the main venues to assist you in seeing everything the festival has to offer.

The Laidley Spring Festival will be held on three big days from September 6-8, and is made possible with support from the Lockyer Valley Regional Council, Pohlmans Nursery, The Lockyer Valley and Somerset Independent, and River 94.9.

Make sure to follow Laidley Spring Festival on Facebook and Instagram for more announcements. You can also log onto the festival website at

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