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Talking Toowoomba's Garden Competition in Style Magazine

Woman standing with man and artwork.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Geraldine Mackenzie and Artist David Hinchliffe in the Japanese Garden.

Why do you sponsor the Garden Competition? Why do you think it is an important part of the Carnival?

At the University of Southern Queensland we highly value everything that the Carnival and Garden Competition brings to Toowoomba. Our beautiful gardens and the sense of community is what it is all about.

The University of Southern Queensland is home to the Japanese Garden, also known as Ju Raku En, which is Australia’s largest, most traditionally designed Japanese stroll garden. The Japanese Garden has been an iconic part of our University’s Toowoomba campus for more than 33 years, and each year attracts tens of thousands of visitors. Now that we have the Gumbi Gumbi Gardens, at the entrance of the campus in West St, we have two beautiful gardens for the public to enjoy during the Carnival.

We understand the thought, work and care that goes into nurturing Toowoomba’s beautiful gardens and recognise that the community is filled with passionate gardeners working year-round on their own piece of paradise.

What is your happiest memory of the Carnival of Flowers?

Last year the University hosted an event for artists in the Japanese Garden to celebrate the Carnival of Flowers, and I had a wonderful time taking part. Creating in the Park was a beautiful and very successful day as participants chose different places around the garden to work on their art. Visitors would walk by and comment or ask questions of the artists, so it was a special experience for everyone. It’s something we would like to do each year for the Carnival.

The end results were truly remarkable in showcasing different interpretations of the Japanese Garden, and were featured in an exhibition in our Art Gallery.

Do you have time to tend to a garden home? If so, what type of gardens do you personally like?

My husband Keith and I have a vegetable garden and fruit trees at our home in Toowoomba – I came from a long line of passionate gardeners. I love all kinds of gardens – for the peace, tranquillity and simple joys that they provide. I’m the gardener and he’s the trimmer.”