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A Guide to Spring Racing Carnival flower buttonholes

by Loan Pham on April 25, 2023

In the first week of November, Flemington racetrack is the place to go for fashion, glamour and fun. The Spring Carnival has a long history, with lots of tradition, which includes flowers to some extent. For the last fifty years, the famous rose gardens at Flemington are in full bloom by the time the Spring Carnival begins. The corporate marquees typically feature stunning floral displays as part of the decor. Then of course there is the flower bling worn by the punters who come to participate in the event. This includes primarily buttonholes for gentlemen and floral hair decorations and wrist corsages for ladies.

 Spring Carnival Buttonholes buttonaires

 Spring Carnival Buttonhole Flowers Quadrella


Tradition dictates that for each race day in the carnival, a particular type of flower is worn. For the first Saturday of the carnival, Derby Day, a blue cornflower is worn. Blue of course represents the sky which we all hope to see while looking up to the heavens for help as the starter readies the horses. Blue also signifies how you may feel if your horse is pipped at the post at the end of the race.

Victoria Derby blue cornflower buttonhole 

Victoria Derby buttonhole - blue cornflower


On Melbourne Cup Day, the first Tuesday of November, the feature flower is the yellow rose. Perhaps symbolic of the sun shining for the racegoers or the gold trophy presented to the winning horse connections and jockey. Maybe even the yellow rose is a reminder to order another beer before the next race starts.

Melbourne Cup Day yellow rose buttonhole 

Melbourne Cup Day buttonhole - yellow rose


By the time Thursday and Oaks Day arrives, most punters have worked out that the races is a great day out and that they really don’t know or care much about horse racing. So sporting a pink rose buttonhole and a smart outfit, Oaks Day is the time to simply soak up the atmosphere and discuss the important world issues, such as where are you going to party tonight when the races finish.

Oaks Day pink rose buttonhole 

Oaks Day Buttonhole - pink rose


The last Saturday of the carnival, also known as Stakes Day, is a good time to reflect on the events of the last week. All the winners and losers, the friends which you shared good time with, all those horses running around, all the nibblies & drinks you consumed and all that blood you spilled in the betting ring. Alas, the red rose buttonhole, a perfect manifestation of the passion, the heart and the soul of the Spring Racing Carnival.

Stakes Day red rose buttonhole 

Stakes Day Buttonhole - red rose