Floriade first began when Peter Sutton and his colleague, landscape designer Chris Slotemaker De Bruine, developed a proposal for a grand floral display to celebrate Australia’s Bicentenary and Canberra’s 75th birthday.

The inaugural Floriade blossomed in 1988 with a stunning floral display of exotic bulbs and annuals, which grow beautifully in Canberra’s climate. The community embraced the event, making it such a success that it became an annual celebration of spring in Australia. Since its beginnings, Floriade has been held alongside iconic Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra’s Commonwealth Park, the heart of the nation’s capital.

Each year, more than one million blooms combine to create a stunning backdrop to a month-long festival filled with music, cultural celebrations, horticultural workshops, artistic displays, entertainment and recreational activities. Floriade runs from mid-September to mid-October and attracts more than 480,000 attendees each year.

Founders of Floriade

Peter Sutton and Chris Slotemaker De Bruine were renowned for being a well-oiled team, with skills that complemented each other perfectly. Peter’s green thumb and way with people was perfectly matched by Chris’s eye for detail and love of landscaping.

This duo’s ingenious vision and unswerving passion are still at the heart of Floriade 30 years on. Indeed, their creativity can be seen all around Canberra, with Peter creating stunning scenery at City Hill, Aspen Island and English Garden to name just a few of his spectacular creations.

Their persistence was instrumental to enabling a wide variety of beautiful bulbs into Australia, in an age of strict quarantine. We know our colourful gardens appreciate it now!

Their tenacity is still felt today, especially within the valuable apprentice program Peter helped pioneer. Did you know the Floriade 2017 Head Gardener grew his gardening skill through that very apprenticeship?

Top blokes all round, Floriade’s founding fathers have always praised the hard work of everyone from the gardeners who plant each bulb by hand to the talented programming team who fill the air with music. As the largest flower festival in the Southern Hemisphere, Floriade is only possible thanks to the highly collaborative effort of countless teams, which were initially brought together by Peter and Chris. Thank you all!

Past Television Commercials

Past Themes

Rediscover past themes of Floriade since 1988 by clicking on an image below to open a full-screen display.