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See Parliament House in full bloom

Amanda Smith

As Canberrans, we can get a little blasé about all these amazing buildings in our own backyard.

When was the last time you thought about wandering up to ‘The Hill’ for a reason other than a meeting or corporate event? Well, now’s your chance to play tourist in your own town.

Parliament House’s Spring Program is on once again, with garden tours, art exhibitions and high teas on offer.

Assistant Director of Landscape Services at Parliament House, Paul Janssens, who will be guiding some of the behind-the-scenes ‘Meet the Gardener’ tours, doesn’t just have the occasional hedge and rosebush to tame – he has 23 hectares of grounds to manage including 17 courtyards.

Paul says the tours will give Canberrans the chance to not only see the gardens in full bloom, but learn the tricks of the trade.


“The courtyards are not just a part of our gardens, they’re our most important parts as they’re so close to the building and used by the media and politicians so regularly,” Paul says.

“It seems to me that the sort of people we attract are very passionate about gardens and so they’re after a lot more information about how we maintain them.”

This is the third year Parliament House is hosting ‘Meet the Gardener’ tours and after their popularity last year, Paul is expecting a full crowd.

“We’re expecting around 80 people across those four tours,” Paul says.

“We also run the Spring Glory Courtyard Tours hosted by our visitor guides-. Our guides don’t go into the detail of garden maintenance but they share some fascinating insights and anecdotes about the political and historical events that have taken place at Parliament House, and the tours are really good for people who want to have a look at the courtyards normally hidden from public view.”

If you’re more inclined to wander independently, self-guided tours are also on offer for the external areas of the building.

As well as garden and courtyard tours, Parliament House will also be offering  Spring Glory high teas and art exhibitions as part of Floriade 2016. For the full program, click here.

the essentials

What: Meet the Gardener Tours
Dates: Sunday 18 September and Sunday 2 October
Times: 10.30am and 1.30pm
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: Adults $60, Child/Concession $50
Bookings: Canberra Ticketing or 6275 2700

Photos by Auspic

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Amanda Smith

Amanda is a lunch enthusiast and Canberra local with a love of all things curious. With a background in photography and current studies in journalism, she hopes to produce work on the human condition and what makes us so intricate. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her eccentric family and buying bread, dip and olives from the Old Bus Depot Markets for lunch on a Sunday. More about the Author