Women at Work: Kiera Mangelsdorf 

Emily Simpson

For most people, Floriade is a fun event to put in the spring calendar, but for Kiera Mangelsdorf it’s a year-round focus.

A qualified horticulturalist, Kiera is the Leading Hand to the Head Gardener for the Floriade 2016: Life in Bloom. After receiving plans for the festival in early February, Kiera and the team of horticultural apprentices she leads get down to preparing for the event held some nine months later.

Their initial responsibilities, says Kiera, include: marking out the floral beds, tents and path locations, marking out the designs for each garden bed, setting up bird netting, and ensuring irrigation, weeding, replanting and other horticultural duties are carried out.

While most visitors to Floriade probably won’t notice the new varieties of tulips that will be included in this year’s festival, Kiera is aching to see them in full bloom.

“For people visiting the event, it’s difficult to appreciate just how much planning goes on behind the scenes,” says Kiera.

“While the crowds that the event attracts each year attest to how wonderful people think Floriade is, it’s difficult for visitors to appreciate just how much time and effort is invested in each and every tulip.”

For Kiera, one of the most rewarding aspects of being a horticulturalist is being able to do something different every day as the year-long preparations for Floriade require a broad range of tasks to be carried out on varying days and seasons.

“When winter strikes,” says Kiera, “days are spent bird netting, removing leaves, irrigating and carry out ongoing maintenance and inspections on all our beds in need of possible replanting to ensure they are looking their best for when Floriade opens.”

“Then as spring – and Floriade – approaches, the team are working hard on removing the bird netting, fencing, planting, watering, mowing, weeding and carrying out general tidy up of the park and garden edging.”

All these smaller tasks combine to produce the spectacular flowerbeds that will be unveiled next week when Floriade 2016 springs to life. And after months of hard work, Kiera and her team will be able to appreciate the fruits of their labour, as well as all the other fun things the festival has to offer.

The Kitchen Company Tasting Plate is always a go to place for me as I love the herb, vegetables displays and talks,” says Kiera.

“I also love being able to reflect on our team’s work over the period of the event from seeing flowers blooming at different time to create an evolving display of bulbs and annuals.”

To see Kiera and her team’s hard work, Floriade 2016: Life in Bloom will take place between 17 September and 16 October. Read our 11 things not to miss here or visit the Floriade website for more information: www.floriadeaustralia.com.

HerCanberra are proud to be a sponsor of Floriade 2016: Life in Bloom


Emily Simpson

Emily is a fourth year Arts/Laws student at the Australian National University. When she’s not studying, which is most of the time, she’s hanging out with friends, drinking coffee, frequenting bakeries in the search for finger buns and vegemite scrolls, or playing sports. Gradually getting closer to the end of her five-year degree, Emily is still trying to figure out exactly what she wants to do ‘when she grows up’, with potential career paths in either law or something related to writing. For now, though, she’s enjoying soaking up the Canberra lifestyle! Emily also writes at www.food-fitness-fashion.com. More about the Author