MORE than 1000 green thumbs and others attended the New England Garden Festival, held at the Armidale Racecourse on the weekend, November 18 and 19.
The festival took a year to cultivate, with six committee members pulling off the inaugural event.
They organised more than 50 stalls, entertainers, presenters, retailers and more for an event that will hopefully blossom into an annual happening.
Television personality and landscape designer Brendan Moar dished the dirt on New England gardens and best plants and designs for the area.
Bonny bonsais featured and were judged in a workshop conducted by Mal Chaffey, who styled a bonsai in front of his audience.
Keeping visitors entertained throughout the festival were Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men, who also reprised themselves on Sunday as two old ladies, with miracle garden spray and alternative garden treatments.
There was a dinosaur garden and miniature fairy ground for the children, while parents and carers could wander through the 58 stalls selling everything from plants to garden accessories.
"We are overjoyed by the success," one of the organisers, Lou Forsyth, said.
"The festival had brilliant community support and the success was beyond our dreams. We are aiming to have another festival next year."
Hop-on, hop-off buses took visitors to several open gardens across Armidale on the Saturday and Sunday.
For Ms Forsyth, the festival had a personal backstory.
Her brother, Craig Lockhart, was diagnosed with cancer Sézary syndrome, a painful form of cancer where a sufferer's body breaks out in a debilitating skin rash.
"I couldn't help my brother, but I wanted to do something for him, so I formed the idea of starting a garden festival," Ms Forsyth said.
Other members of the garden committee included Susie Coventry, Terry Rolfe, Lesley Nies, Nellie Hayes and Ian Lloyd.
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