GREEN THUMBED: Enchanted Garden's Claire Cunningham loves going to the Winter Gardening Extravaganza each year.
GREEN THUMBED: Enchanted Garden's Claire Cunningham loves going to the Winter Gardening Extravaganza each year. Tessa Flemming

Enchanted by garden extravaganza for 31 years

FOR Claire Cunningham, today's Winter Gardening Extravaganza will continue a tradition she's been part of for more than three decades but time has not diminished her love for the event in the slightest.

Mrs Cunningham, who owns Enchanted Gardens in Warwick, has been attending the expo since it began in 1988 and has seen the event grow and evolve from a show at the Warwick Town Hall to an extravaganza at St Mary's Hall in Wood St.

Over her time, the green thumb said she had seen many changes in garden trends and what expo customers wanted.

"Of course there are phases all the time," Mrs Cunningham said.

"It's like anything else. It used to be that fruit trees were very popular and now it's indoor plants."

The event allows local store owners to meet people and educate them about the Rose City's passion for plants.

"It gives people a chance to go and see what's in town and what's grown here," she said.

"Lots of people are surprised by what's available because we have things you don't see in other towns."

The event is used to help businesses connect with the Jumpers and Jazz crowd, but Mrs Cunningham said she also had interest from newer residents keen to get gardening.

"We get a bit of both, but there's been a lot of new residents coming these last couple of years," she said.

"I've seen an influx of people who are tired of the coast and traffic who have been working all their lives who come to retire in Warwick and find themselves with time now to garden."

Mrs Cunningham said the most popular plant bought was surprisingly not The Rose City's namesake.

"We really get a mixture of things, but mostly people are after the colder climate plants," she said.

Already planning her return next year, Mrs Cunningham said little could keep her away from talking to others about gardening.

"I could go for another 10 years," she said.

"I'm old enough that I could retire but I don't because I love coming in every day. It's something that is a part of my being. Some love science and some love to get their hands dirty and talk about plants."

EVENT INFO

The Winter Gardening Extravaganza garden is held by the Warwick Horticultural Society.

The event will run from 10am-5pm today and 9am-4pm tomorrow.

Entry is $3, with primary school children free.



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