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Real men like to get their hands dirty

Rachel Wilke, Michael Benney and Jan Collins from MacGregor have a laugh while making herb and flower baskets at Floriade. Click for more photos

Floriade, September 29 - October 1

Photos from the record-breaking long weekend at Floriade, September 29 - October 1. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Whatever you do, don't call Michael Benney a pansy. That is unless you are admiring his hanging basket bursting with an assortment of parsley, coriander and pansies he made at Floriade yesterday.

The 25-year-old duty manager of the Raiders Belconnen club was, according to organisers, among the ''very big crowds'' yesterday, which were teeming with men willing to get their hands dirty at the annual flower festival.

Decked out in a muscle shirt and getting some sun on his tattooed biceps, Mr Benney showed off his green thumb at the Lindeman's Open Garden Hanging Basket workshop by creating his own take-home floral creation.

''I'm just trying to make it look cool. To be honest with you I have no idea what I'm doing. I just got roped into doing this,'' he said as he pottered around the makeshift mini nursery with his friends. ''I'm a new type of sensitive, new-aged guy.''

Other men getting dirt under their nails included three-year-old Isaac Oudgenoeg and his dad Michael, a horticulturalist visiting from Campbelltown.

While Isaac enjoyed playing in the dirt, Mr Oudgenoeg happily sought inspiration for his day job and snapped photographs of the blooms on display.

Meanwhile in the kitchen, award winning garden writer Meredith Kirton joined host of Channel 10's new cooking show Yes Chef, Dominique Rizzo, to showcase the best home-grown food ideas for spring.

''There's definitely more of a focus and interest this year on edible gardens,'' Ms Kirton said.

''Floriade is very unique, compared to other flower shows around Australia, what they do here with the cooking demonstrations, the wine tastings, the hanging baskets and even the different dirt is so interactive and encourages people to get involved,'' Ms Rizzo added.

For the second day in a row parking lots were at capacity by midday and organisers used social media to urge visitors to use shuttle buses instead of parking on median strips near Commonwealth Park.

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