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Monday, 27 September 2010

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers - blooming brilliant

The Queensland panagbenga known as the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers (TCOF) is now in its 61st year. The event has been growing bigger, brighter and more colourful each year. It is the longest running annual horticultural (floral) event of its kind in Australia, and renowned as a national icon, the premiere celebration in springtime. With the grand floral street parade, celebrations & flower garden competition, horticulture & fascinating floral displays, fabulous gourmet food and wondrous wine, awe-inspiring artistic diversity, interactive workshops and exceptional entertainment (sideshow alley, fireworks and live concerts), the TCOF has something for everyone! Up to 250,000 people were expected to attend throughout the 10 days of the festival. The festival culminated with fireworks just yesterday 26th inst.

A few years ago Bibak-Queensland were invited to take part in the street parade as guests of the Filipino community. (Bibak is an organisation of Filipinos who hail from the Cordillera mountains in the Philippines). That parade was enhanced by the participation of Igorots (Bibak members) in their bright costumes playing their gongs, while the crowds danced to the beat.

Picnic Point gardens.

This year Bibak members decided to once again pay that mountain city a visit, though this time as mere onlookers. Bibak set their bi-monthly meeting in Toowoomba to coincide with the flower carnival.

This trip for me was a solo flight. I had no company to ask ‘are we there yet?’, and no co-pilot either. Just me and a trusty old camera.

Some of the group arrived in Toowoomba on Friday, while others travelled there on the Saturday either early, or in the afternoon after work. I started mid-morning mainly because i slept in (as usual). It was no surprise that i got caught in a traffic jam. For about ½ hour, i negotiated about 2km of the highway in Redbank in Ipswich. But then it was a cruise for the rest of the way to Toowoomba. I called in at the Information centre for some maps.


Then I arranged to join two of the Bibak women on their mini-tour.
These two ladies looked like twins in their red garbs.


Many of the winning gardens were visited by Bibak members.

We visited the Japanese garden and winning exhibition gardens #1, #3 and #4.

That afternoon we met up with the Bibak group for a luncheon meeting. The venue is in the home of a member from Ifugao, living in Centenary Heights here in Toowoomba. Bibak extend their thanks to gracious Evelyn and her wonderful family for hosting us and taking us on a guided tour of their hometown. In the evening, we visited a couple more sites – Picnic Point and Queens Park.

At nightfall, we said goodbye to the two ladies-in-red who had to leave that day.
Then we trooped to our accommodations.

The pictures below are my entries in the Bibak photo competition.

Japanese garden


Exhibition garden #1. Holt garden – Rocky Ridge Court


 I said hello to a beautiful lady in white, but she ignored me. I think she’s frigid.


Exhibition garden #3. Fry garden – Dallang Road.

Exhibition garden #4. Martin garden – Dallang Road

Queens Park Gardens.


Blooming beauty!



Flowers brighten up the darkening day better than the streetlamps.


The following morning greeted us with blessings from the empyrean. The dose of extended drizzles fell well until around mid-day. That did not dampen the spirit of the group who took it for invigoration as the gardens did.

City Grand champion – Glen & Ida Kendrick’s garden at 11 Montclair Close.



Southern Queensland TAFE- 1st institutions category.



I tipped my hat off to the 2-metre trunk hoop pine.
It would have made up to a hundred ‘lusong’ in my village.



Acreage garden. Drew garden – Kevin & Dianna Drew 17 Ward Street, Highfields.

We found the secret Viagra falls here. Or rather Mr Con did.






Reserve Grand champion – Gordon and Maria Reynolds garden at 40 Smythe Drive, Highfields.


On the way back the Bibak convoy wound their way around South Queensland and the Somerset regions. From Highfields we went exploring towards Helidon via Murphys Creek. Then two stops on the Warrego Highway in Gatton and Crowley Vale for some farm fresh fruits and vegetables, and for some light meals. Then after refuelling in Plainland, it was on to Fernvale via Lowood.

Lake Wivenhoe.

Cormorant Bay.

That’s solo me.

But this time I insisted on company for the return trip. I reasoned that I can talk to myself but myself is not good at small talk. I prevailed on two of the ladies to ride along and be the navigators.

Lake Wivenhoe Information Centre.


Mt Glorious.


 At the western outlook. Overlooking lake Wivenhoe. But the group is looking for a bellbird, up in the gum trees.



An added highlight of TCOF grand parade is the classic show & shine featuring show-worthy veteran, vintage classic cars. I missed the parade, but I saw some of these cars on display in their garages.


Exhibition garden 1. Holt garden – Rocky Ridge Court. Caddilac.




Exhibition garden 3. Fry garden – Dallang Road. WWII trucks (above),
and a miniature 1939 vintage (below).



 Queens Park Gardens. Vintage cannon.

 


Acreage garden. Drew garden – Ward Street, Highfields.



Caravan park. Vintage accomodation and utes (below).

Vintage mountain. Tabletop mountain viewed from Picnic Point.