The Filmer family is fast becoming the Floriade family, playing a big part in Canberra's celebration of spring, which opens in Commonwealth Park on Saturday.
Geoff Filmer and his parents Pete and Jenny have been hard at work painting a Canberra-icon-themed mural above the blooms at the back of Stage 88, ready for opening day. The trio also made the giant pink gnome Floyd, which is taking Floriade into the suburbs.
And they also decorated three paddle boats for Floriade, two of which are are floating on Nerang Pond. The third is on the banks as a "selfie station", ready to be used by some of the 480,000 visitors expected to wander through the 1 million bulbs and annuals over the next month.
"It's lovely to be a part of it," Geoff said.
Even Geoff's eight-year-old daughter Lucy helped paint the mural, which he says is as much as Canberra awakening from winter as Floriade the festival, the image also including the Lonsdale Street rainbow roundabout, Mount Stromlo mountain biking and balloons floating above the city.
"Floriade reflects that shift in weather we can have in Canberra. I love the snow, I love being cosy in the cold weather. But when Canberra shifts gears into spring, there's an energy in the city that's just amazing," Geoff said.
"That's more than Comm Park and the flowers and the tulips. It's that shift in the city. That's what I love about Floriade."
Floriade executive producer Vickii Cotter said the theme this year was World in Bloom, taking visitors through Australia, the United States, Africa and Europe.
"It's a really beautiful journey around the site," she said.
Floriade head Andrew Forster was on to Floriade No. 23.
He and is team used a lot of chicken wire and netting to keep cockatoos, water hens, hares and even feral cats off the garden beds so they could become established. The controls came off two weeks before Floriade. The flying foxes weren't a problem but feral cats could be.
"You sometimes might find a half-eaten rat or half-eaten possum buried [in the garden beds]," he said. All compost, you might say. The beds were irrigated with lake water. And the frost was a challenge for the annuals. But all in all, it was satisfying to see it all come together.
"The thing about Floriade is you see something from the start to the finish," Mr Forster said.
"You're watching things go in the ground, watching things grow slowly, watching the tulips pop their little heads through the ground. You're working with staff, you're training staff. And then you get to see the whole thing happen during Floriade and people come through the gates."
There will be a gnome hunt with gnomes hidden in the garden beds. Foodies will be provided for by local and regional producers, including Pialligo Urban and Capital Brewing. There is kids' entertainment and rides. DreamWorks characters will also be visiting throughout Floriade, on the back of the National Museum's DreamWorks Animation exhibition.
Ms Cotter was asked if she thought Commonwealth Park was the right long-term home for Floriade.
"I think Floriade's home is in Canberra and Commonwealth Park is a beautiful park. It looks fantastic and we've done a really great collaborative effort with the NCA, working together to bring it up to this beautiful site and we can't wait to open the gates for everybody to experience the event on Saturday," she said.
- Floriade is open daily from September 14 to October 13, 9.30am - 5.30pm, weather permitting. Last entry to the event is 30 minutes before closing. Entry to Floriade is free. NightFest tickets are here.