I genuinely love our Royal Adelaide Show and am often bragging about it when I am interstate. It may not be the biggest in Australia, with the Sydney Royal Easter Show beating us in numbers, however it gets the most visitors per capita of any state show in Australia – more than 500,000 visitors attend over the ten days of the event. Not bad when you consider there are just 1.7 million people in Adelaide itself. Many don’t think about it as being a horticultural or gardening event however our Royal Show was initiated by the Royal Agricultural and HORTICULTURAL Society (first known as the South Australian Agricultural Society) back in 1840 when they held their first Produce Show with exhibits of vegetables, cereals, cheese, wool and leather.

Things to do & see


Today there are record entries into over 40 sections including bonsai, camellias, daffodils, trees, shrubs, orchids, pot plants, and fruit and vegies. There are also sections where school kitchen gardens can enter with a harvest basket, herb bouquet, salad of imagination, or seasonal vegetables.


Many schools and preschools also enter the scarecrow competition each year and, as a judge of this section, I must say that I am always amazed by the creativity and diversity of entries. His excellency the Governor of South Australia the Hon Hieu Van Le and his wife Mrs Le will again make a special visit to the Horticulture Section to select one very special scarecrow for official duties in the Government House vegetable garden. The lucky members of the class will then receive a special invitation to tour the Government House and the grounds to see their scarecrow ‘on duty’.

Floristry and floral art

Floristry and Floral Art is also a big part of the horticulture section with hundreds of stunning creations by florists, TAFE students, and floral artists. There are four different showings of floristry and floral art over the 10 days which means that the displays change every few days. The beauty of the flowers and the creativity of the arrangements is always breathtaking.

Plant societies and displays

There are also a number of plant societies that are present with stands and display. These Societies will have experts on hand throughout the show to answer all your gardening questions. These include the SA Iris Society, Camilla Society, Bromeliad Society, Orchid Club of SA, SA Bonsai Society and the Fern Society SA. The Feature Flower for 2018 is camellia. There will be an exciting displays of all the different type of camellias including the Camellia sinensis or the tea camellia – where tea comes from! The display will consist of a large selection of flowers and established plants.

Garden talks

There is also a full program of garden talks, demonstrations and master classes from the plant societies as well as gardening experts and members of the Horticultural Media such as myself. Topics include orchids, bonsai, rose growing, vegie gardening, floral art and cooking demonstrations from the Vietnamese Farmers Association. See the full program at http://theshow.com.au/

How is your plant life balance?

You can find out his year by visiting the interactive ‘Plant Life Balance’ stand run in conjunction with the Nursery & Garden Industry of SA Inc. Based on the popular ‘Plant Life Balance App’ available in your app store, a visit to the stand will allow you to style your own place by moving and placing plants in beautiful pots, in one of two different room settings to help create the perfect ‘Plant Life Balance’. Experts from local independent garden centres from across the state will then be on hand to ‘rate your space’, by that we mean, how have you improved your health and wellbeing by using real plants in an indoor room environment. You will then have the opportunity to have a selfie taken in your room and take away all the knowledge and information you will need to create your own health and wellbeing space at home or the office.

Garden in small places

Back by popular demand again this year will be the ‘Garden in Small Places’ Competition. This competition run in conjunction with the Nursery Industry allows schools, community groups and gardens, service clubs and accredited garden centres to create either a hanging basket or container in one of three categories: colour, edible and fun/creative. Judging will take place on Friday the 31st August, the first day of the show, so be sure to come in and see the fantastic creative work by all of the competitors. The competition will be located adjacent to my feature garden and at the rear of the Horticulture Stage.

Colour your world displays

Be sure not to miss the ‘Colour Your World’ plant displays where you will be able to see the latest and greatest plant varieties available in your local independent garden centre this spring. Supported by Ball Australia, a major breading and inventor in the plant world, and Nursery and Garden Industry of SA, the Horticulture Committee are very pleased to be able to showcase the ‘best of the best’ of plant development from around the world. Not only will you be able to see that the plants look like once established, you will also be able to take away all the cultural information you need to help you make the selection for the perfect ‘wow’ plant for your garden. There will also be great selections of pollinator friendly plants to help you attract and improve your local pollinator population in your own backyard.

garden display

Fruit & vegetables

The horticulture section is on the northern end of the Goyder Pavilion and is seen as place of respite from all the ‘hustle and bustle’ outside. It is an area where people can come and relax, marvel at the diversity and beauty of plants and the extraordinary excellence of the competitive entries. You will also find the Apple & Pear Growers Association and Citrus Australia in this end of the Hall and this is where you can buy or sample the best fresh produce from our local growers. While visiting one of these growers, be sure to take the opportunity to collect your orange, mandarin, apple, pear and bananas from the three Yellow Brick Road collection stations. The Yellow Brick Road Show Bags and maps are available to purchase upon entry to the grounds and are great value. This year all of the items collected are produce related, with the majority grown right here in SA.

So, while I am totally biased, I think that the Royal Adelaide Show is worth visiting for gardening side alone. Hope to see you down there! And for those who can’t make it to our show, photos will be added to this site within a day or of the show opening and you will be able to download the brochure that accompanies the garden.