BEIRUT: The annual Garden Show and Spring Festival opened its 11th edition at the Beirut Hippodrome Tuesday, welcoming gardening enthusiasts to a week of workshops and plant browsing.
At the festival, located at the Beirut Hippodrome, gardening connoisseurs and agricultural experts offer their advice at a variety of workshops available throughout the week. Geared toward the public and industry professionals alike, the garden show offers a chance for like-minded guests to schmooze, eat and entertain their families. Children can enjoy arts and crafts, cooking sessions and the rare chance to run through a public park in Beirut.
More than a decade old, the Garden Show and Spring Festival has grown each year to become a Lebanese tradition. The event, co-organized by Hospitality Services and Myriam Shuman, is a hub for outdoorsmen of all echelons.
“We have planned this event with the same mission for the past 11 years: to have a beautiful moment in a beautiful garden in Beirut,” said Joumana Salame, managing director of Hospitality Services.
This year’s festival hosts more than 250 exhibitors and approximately 24,000 expected participants, all intent on celebrating Lebanon’s famed biodiversity and outdoor activities. “It’s so rewarding, because you can feel the spirit in the air. It’s like a moment when the world completely stops,” Salame said.
One of the most unique feature of this year’s Garden Show & Spring Festival is the debut of Travel Lebanon, a section of the expo that focuses on promoting local and domestic rural tourism through over 60 different players. “It’s the idea that your country needs you. Visit your country, instead of going elsewhere. Discover its beauty,” Salame said.
More than 250 exhibitors will be present at the festival, ranging from well-known organizations like Chateau Musar to small, locally owned businesses. Exhibitor Nadine Eid is the founder of “L’Orchidée du Désert,” a startup that specializes in turning recycled palettes into home decorations and garden furniture.
“I’ve been to the festival three or four times. It’s my favorite place. It’s a great opportunity for me to show my larger collection,” Eid said. Among her products are customized personal items, wine racks, benches, children’s chairs and house plants like basil, thyme and cacti.
“I like everything that has to do with crafting. I always wanted to start a small business, and recently my relative has been out of work, so I decided to start this with his help because he has a lot of skills with this kind of stuff,” she said.
The theme chosen for this year’s festivities is Jounayne, meaning “garden” or “little paradise” in English. Organizers said they hope the Garden Show and Spring Festival is just that, offering a place of peace in the hectic buzz of city life.
“Jounayne is about building our own paradise, no matter what else is happening outside of it,” Salame said. “Summer in Lebanon is long, and it’s celebrated. This event is the perfect kickoff for our summer.
Garden Show and Spring Festival will be held at the Beirut Hippodrome from May 27-31, 5-11 p.m. daily. Tickets are LL10,000, and women with flower names are admitted free of charge. Visit www.the-gardenshow.com for more information.