As Jamie Durie tells it, it all began over a beer with a friend. He had just returned from the Melbourne Flower Show, and was bemoaning the fact that Sydney had nothing similar to the event that attracted more than 100,000 people to the southern capital.

That was five years ago. Sydney in Bloom began in 2003, and this year’s five-day festival in the Domain is expected to attract more than 70,000 people.

Sydney in Bloom has accomplished Durie’s and his business partner Greg Hooton’s original dream.

This is the sort of project we all do for love, Durie says.

We have some really talented designers in Sydney and Australia in both landscape design and floral design, and they deserve to be shown in a beautiful light. We are now the biggest garden event in Sydney.

But more important to Durie -“ who is best known for his Logie-winning hosting role on TV’s Backyard Blitz -“ is getting people out of the winter doldrums and into the great outdoors.

Durie says his passion is helping people make the most of their homes, and he will present different ways to do so during his daily Sydney in Bloom talks.

I really love inspiring people, and this show is about inspiring people with beautiful landscapes and ideas, and helping them get connected with their gardens again now that winter is over, Durie says.

In the talks, I go through the plants I use, the philosophy of the designs, where the ideas come from, the right materials to use and where to get them.

Durie believes Australians have changed their approach to gardens in recent times.

We talk about the design philosophy of what a space is -“ is it an exhibition garden, an outdoor lounge room or a living space surrounded by plants? It is now about how people want to live in that space. People want the luxuries they enjoy inside the home on the outside as well -“ and we have the materials to do that.

Sydney in Bloom will present more than 20 fully landscaped show gardens, created by leading designers, offering a range of designs and materials. Among the other designers on show are Dean Herald of Rolling Stone Landscapes, Jim Fogarty of Art in Green, and Andrew Davies of DIG, Above the Earth.

I just think the garden is such an awesome medium to work with, Durie says. Unlike an architect, you have to think so much further ahead, in that you are designing with ever-changing art forms. You have to think about what is happening above and below the earth, as well as what is happening through all four seasons.

Sydney in Bloom will be held in the Domain from 21 -“ 25 September, with tickets from $17. For more information visit the Sydney in Bloom website. 

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