On the eve of the famous Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers, the results of more than 40 Chronicle Garden Competition categories were announced. The special ceremony was held at the City Golf Club Toowoomba, with the three competition judges, Sophie Thomson, Kate Heffernan and Donna Hay in attendance.

Paul and Noela Rubb have been awarded Country Grand Champion for their quintessentially Australian rural garden. The Rubbs’ garden in Haden was only a bare cow paddock when they moved in 12 years ago and they have worked tirelessly, in challenging environmental conditions, to create the native oasis it is today. “People are often surprised because it’s so dry out here and you go down the track and all the paddocks are dry, and then you have our bright garden,” said Noela Rubb. Country judge Kate Heffernan was instantly impressed by the Rubb’s garden. “On arrival, Noela and Paul Rubb’s garden had the definite feel of an Australian rural garden — embraced into the terrain, as well as sheltered and shaded by native trees.”

Julie Roggeveen has won City Grand Champion for her garden which is rich with biodiversity. Roggeveen’s current garden in Top Camp is only two years old and is teeming with birds, bees and butterflies. It was this life and vibrancy, as well as the diversity of plants that most impressed City Judge Sophie Thomson. “While young, this garden shows amazing growth with interesting plant choices, which would ensure colour and interest all year round, not just at judging time,” Thomson explains. Roggeveen and her late husband, Arch, won the competition in 2005 and 14 years later, Julie has won it again with her daughter Jenny. Inspired by an open garden they visited in Goondiwindi, mother and daughter have a twinkling light archway connecting their gardens, giving them easy access to each other’s homes.

Readers also enjoyed River Dragon Festival.