Yesterday I visited Canberra Floriade 2009, an annual flower and gardening show in Canberra, Australia. Unfortunately I forgot my camera, so I only have Blackberry Pearlphotos to share with you. The Floriade website is actually a really well designed site, and definitely a must see before you visit the show.
The main reason I went to the show was for landscaping ideas, I am currently designing how our backyard will be done. There were a few landscaped areas with different themes that were interesting, but generally the show was a lot smaller than I expected. I guess what is difficult for me to appreciate is the sheer volume and density of flowers. Once you realise that each tulip (and there would be several hundred thousand) planted is an individually purchased, planted and cultivated bulb you can start to understand the amount of effort that goes into the displays. The fact that the show (and parking!) is free is also amazing, especially for someone who comes from Sydney where literally nothing is free.
While I was in Canberra I also visited the War Memorial and the National Portrait Gallery. Both were great venues that I hadn’t visited since the days of school excursions. It was interesting to see the War Memorial is definitely keeping up with the times and has gone for the sensory type experiences. This is particularly true in the post-1945 conflicts area, as well as the Lancaster bomber raid reconstruction (my favourite). I think the War Memorial has struck a really good balance between solemn spaces (like the tomb of the Unknown Soldier) and engaging interactive displays. For people my age who have never directly experienced a war it is difficult to comprehend the warped realities of war based on aging photos and equipment under glass. For me it was strange seeing the names of towns I recognised being discussed, because I was recognising the town names from Band of Brothers and Call of Duty. I believe that information transfer is the most important thing, and if it takes these experiences to do that then so be it. I think the War Memorial is walking the line between entertainment and education very precisely, experiences and blogs are engaging and effective communication tools.
While on the way down to Canberra we stopped at Goulburn. We had coffee at The Roses Cafe, a very nice little cafe that would give the best cafes of Newtown a run for their money for quality and selection of food. There are some good photos of Goulburn and the cafe on this weird worm blog. I actually really enjoyed the architecture and authenticity of Goulburn as a gold rush era inland Australian town and would definitely recommend it as a stopping point on the road between Canberra and Sydney, it is a great insight into the problems with freeway bypasses and McDonald’s service centres.