The beautiful vista of Lardner Park’s 300 acres was a spectacular spring backdrop for the Garden and Home Expo held on the weekend of 14 & 15 October. This popular event was previously run by the Lions Club for 19 years and for the second year now as a Lardner Park event. It is well worth marking in your calendar for 2024!
Gippsland is known for its inclement weather and sprung some challenging spring conditions on the event. When asked to describe the morning’s weather, REDfusion’s Sam’s response was tinged with irony in both word and inflection, “Really, really rainy, wet and cold, and beautiful, nice. Yes, it’s awesome, great!” Actually, he was bang on – it ended up being all of this!
Visitors were undeterred and flocked to be inspired and indulge in the vast array of plants, craftware, scented candles, a delicious range of food and beverages, garden maintenance equipment (who doesn’t love a powerful mower or chainsaw in their arsenal?), cutest of farm animals for the kids and young at heart to adore, and … well, the list goes on …
Chris and Sam expertly held their cameras steady against the buffeting wind to capture the highlights of Saturday, with James engaging with exhibitors and visitors, and a bit of directing on the side. It’s always a delight for our team to be a part of community events and enlarge our understanding of other professional enterprises and people’s interests.
Amici & Co Gippsland
Lardner Park Home & Garden Expo first timers, Amie & Donata, started creating candles as a hobby. Their now successful business, Amici & Co Gippsland, reflects both their Italian heritage and strong friendship.
The vivacious duo highly recommends ‘Espresso Martini’ (the crew’s eyes lit up immediately), ‘Black Raspberry Vanilla’ and ‘Dragonfruit Chipotle’ – all popular choices from their incredible range. In addition to beautiful hand-crafted candles, Amici & Co Gippsland stock a selection of candle vessels to suit any home decor; clients can mix and match to their hearts’ content!
Now’s the time to get a jump on Christmas! Keep an eye on Facebook and Instagram for the next market at which Amie & Donata will be selling their wares or visit their website or etsy store. Good luck on narrowing down your purchases though!
Lardner Primary School
The students at Lardner Primary School started their venture of creating plant hangers, bath bombs, pressed flowers, soaps, flower pots, bark art, cordial and other wonders for sale at their stand way back in Term 3. Funds raised from the stall are going towards the purchase of a shipping container to be converted into a classroom/creative workspace in the school’s sustainability garden.
School Captain, Lucy, was particularly happy that they had made everything sustainably. The kids were justifiably proud of their contributions to the array of wares and the exuberance for upcycling and recycling is a credit to the school’s program.
We hope that it won’t be long before the shipping container-cum-classroom is operational and students are exploring their creativity and ingenuity in the realm of recycling and upcycling for sustainability.
Allambee Flower Farm
Allambee Flower Farm had a dazzling display of floral arrangements and buckets overflowing with vibrant colours. Owner, Quynh, said they had been involved with the Home & Garden Expo for ten years and it was a terrific experience. Quynh’s sons, Dylan and Connor, were on hand to guide indecisive customers (so much beauty to choose from) and impart their knowledge of the blooms.
Quynh obviously loves being a part of the community; getting to know others and be known, in turn and sharing her growing tips to anyone who enquires. She believes that taking part in markets and the Expo is a great way to build knowledge of what people like, something not easily attained operating predominantly as a wholesaler.
We are so keen to accept the invitation to visit the farm, with drone in hand, to capture on film the unique terracing (practised in Quynh’s native Vietnam) and massive array of trees, shrubs and flowers; some fat bees thrown in for a macro lens would be delightful too!
Joha Swanepoel and his family immigrated to Gippsland from South Africa ten years ago. Auswan (a clever melding of Australia and Swanepoel) biltong came about to satisfy the yearning of Johan for true South African biltong.
Whilst Johan had made biltong for his own consumption in South Africa, manufacturing it on a commercial scale was a whole new venture. Auswan has now branched out, making sausage and a very popular range of biltong sticks – they sell by the box, apparently! Next on the menu is biltong chips – like potato chips but made with meat – they sound very interesting and delicious.
Exhibiting at the Garden and Home Expo was a first time experience for Johan, although he is familiar with Lardner Park, having had a stand at Farm World. Johan said he really liked being at the Expo and appreciated that it wasn’t a four day event (standing on one’s feet is very tiring, we would imagine).
You don’t have to wait until next year’s Lardner Park events to buy Auswan products – you can find them locally at Warragul’s Farmers Market each month and at Valley View Food in Warragul.
Crafted by Chris
Award-winning Crafted by Chris had a stand filled with beautiful handcrafted (by the very talented Chris) wood carvings, homeware, pens, wall art and novelty items. Chris said his business is a ‘retirement project’ and what a wonderful project it is! The intricate designs created out of a variety of woods, some rare, and Chris’ attention to detail is nothing short of impressive.
This was the second time Crafted by Chris has exhibited at the Garden and Home Expo and whilst it was a bit slower than last year, Chris was enjoying himself immensely. Whilst Chris’ venture is a hobby, it has the bonus of bringing in some income and he is involved with markets three or four times a month.
What are Chris’ favourite things about what he does? Firstly, the love of making things, followed by the company of stallholders and meeting some very interesting people. Chris had high praise for the Expo organisers, “The Lardner Park people are fantastic; they really look after you.”
We look forward to marvelling at Chris’ woodworking skill again.