ACT News


Flower powers-that-be take time to smell those blooms

As two of Australia's busiest personalities, celebrity gardener Jamie Durie and fashion designer Leona Edmiston relish any moment to stop and smell the roses - or the jonquils in this case.

Edmiston, who has has been chosen as this year's ambassador for Floriade, and her husband Jeremy Ducker not only run one of Australia's enduring fashion houses but also took delivery of twin girls, Dusty and Dylan, born by surrogate in the United States earlier this year.

Durie, meanwhile, is becoming something of a Canberra local, designing the gardens for the $120 million housing project Observatory Living in Wright and showcasing a snap-shot version of the design at Floriade.

Both are championing Canberra's annual celebration of spring, Floriade, which will be officially launched in Commonwealth Park this morning.

This year is the 25th anniversary of Floriade, with the 2012 theme Style and Design, fitting the passions of both Edmiston and Durie.

Edmiston, whose eponymous label is built on feminine frocks, has her own large garden in the Southern Highlands featuring tulips, lilacs and roses. So she appreciates the effort that goes into Floriade.


''I actually know what an extraordinary feat it is to achieve this,'' she said. ''On a very, very small level we struggle in our own way so I think to see the magnitude and the love and dedication that the gardeners put into creating this is a wonderful thing.''

Edmiston has resolutely declined interviews about her twin girls but says they're ''adorable'' and she loves being a mother.

''They're beautiful. They're almost five months,'' she said.

And as for being a working mum, that's something she has taken it all in her stylish stride.

''Obviously it's great fun and they bring a wonderful joy,'' she said.

Edmiston will wear a frock from her own collection at today's launch, featuring a field of foxgloves in the design.

Durie's career is as frenetic as ever. He is working on a new book, considering more projects for Canberra developer Geocon and designing interiors and furniture for hotels in Singapore and Malaysia. Floriade has become another favourite project. ''It's about a celebration of nature, it's what we're all drawn to intrinsically,'' he said. ''And when you see all this colour and vibrancy and the celebration of spring, it just brings everyone out of hibernation.''

Durie has a house in the US but will be spending more time in Australia now that he has finished building a new home on Sydney's northern beaches. And even he needs help in the garden.

''I'm moving back into that in four weeks which is very exciting. I've got my mate Nigel [Ruck] from Backyard Blitz planting out as we speak,'' he said, with a laugh.

Floriade is on at Commonwealth Park from tomorrow to October 14.