The Floriade Garden Soil is supplied by Martins Fertilizers. Through the partnership Events ACT maintains with Martins Fertilizers, the soil for Floriade is designed to absorb and retain moisture, is a free draining nutrient rich soil and may be used on its own or to enrich existing soil and garden beds. Floriade pots and hanging baskets contain the same Floriade Garden Soil, including its water saving capabilities. Martins Fertilizers is a Friend of Floriade - www.floriadeaustralia.com.
May: Work starts included mapping out the theme, which plants to use, and the important planting timeline.
February - April : Master plan goes to the gardening team, who mark out the garden beds in Commonwealth Park with tape measures and paint. This is when important infrastructure that will support plants through the festival is installed, including soil requirements, irrigation and drainage. Paths are created to guide visitors through the garden beds. The overall design of Commonwealth Park begins to take shape.
April to June
- Some 3000-4000 cubic metres of top quality planting compost from Martins Fertilizers is moved in and spread to a depth of 15cm.
- This soil is tested for salt, pH and nutrient levels to ensure it is the best food for the plants; and will have maximum water and nutrition retention.
- Next the planting begins. Being careful to select bulbs of the right variety and colour, gardeners place each bulb on top of the planting compost, wedging it slightly to stay in place when a 10cm layer of topsoil is added.
- Teams spread out over four hectares, starting from opposite ends of the park to plant. It takes almost seven weeks, until the two teams of 10 gardeners meet in the middle.
- Bulbs then lay dormant over winter waiting for the temperature signal of rising temperatures in spring and then begin to send up shoots.
- The expert garden teams can vary the timing of bulbs emerging and flowering by changing the depth of planting.
- By August bulbs and annuals are all reaching maturity ready to reveal their colours. At this stage finishing touches are added like props and ornaments, in preparation for the big festival launch.
September to October
- During Floriade even when it is open to the public the gardening team works around the clock to keep the blooms in top shape.
- Gardeners remove dead flower heads, reshape trodden garden beds, clear litter, rake paths and give the plants a regular watering.
- Vital conditions like salt, pH and nutrient levels in the compost are monitored throughout the festival to ensure healthy bulbs and prolific flowering.
- Slow release and foliar fertilisers are applied when necessary to give the bulbs a little boost.
- When Floriade closes, the remaining flowers are cut and distributed to local nursing homes and hospitals, giving even more people a chance to enjoy their vibrant colour and scent.
October to December
- The clean-up crew removes spent annuals, bulbs and soil, levels the garden beds back to ground level.
- The soil is ripped and hoed before new turf is laid, leaving it in tiptop condition for next year's event.
- By the end of the year, Commonwealth Park is returned to its regular state as a favourite spot for summer fun, other festivals and celebrations including Canberra Day, outdoor concerts and local events.