Thousands of tulip bulbs that were slated to be planted in Commonwealth Park as part of Floriade won't be wasted, despite the event's cancellation due to coronavirus.
The bulbs will be planted in flower beds and communal areas across Canberra over winter to ensure they will bloom in time for spring.
The announcements comes as the ACT government cancelled the annual festival of flowers for the first time in the event's 32-year history.
The event was scheduled to take place in September and October this year, and normally attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors, many coming from interstate.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the event presented too great a risk with more than half a million people expected to attend.
He said the cancellation was a difficult but necessary decision.
"We had ordered all the tulips and the bulbs, but effectively, there was a time needed to make a call on the event, because there had been 12 to 18 months of planning," Mr Barr said.
"At this point there's no way to conduct that event in its usual form.
"There would be no way there'd be 500,000 people in Commonwealth Park in September. There's no possible circumstance that would happen."
Work will get under way with Floriade workers to prepare the bulbs for planting in areas across the city.
Mr Barr said options were being looked at to have parts of Floriade available online for people to access.
"We're looking at other options for some support for artists and creatives who otherwise would have undertake activities at Floriade to be delivered safely," he said.
Last year's Floriade broke attendance records at Commonwealth Park with more than 507,000 people attending the month-long festival.
Preparations for the 2020 festival had already begun at the conclusion of last year's event.
Work on planting the more than one million bulbs often begins months in advance with Commonwealth Park closing to the public for several weeks in August to allow for the set up.
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