Looking Back: Autumn Open Day at Bellis

A queue was unavoidable. Apologies!
A queue was unavoidable. Apologies!

An Open Day is a great way to get feedback from gardeners on what you’re growing and how you’re doing.

Despite the cool, showery weather, about 2,000 gardeners dropped by to check out my living larder.

All that is left to say is THANK YOU the visitor for supporting Open Gardens Australia, the not-for -profit charity that made this event possible and which supports community gardening projects with its surplus cash.

THANK YOU to the Open Gardens Australia volunteers who staffed the gate.

THANK YOU to Spring Fields Garden Centre for filling the demand for good quality and unusual plants that I do not grow and

THANK YOU to Slurp Tea for filling the refreshment gap!



spring onions, 100g;
tomatoes 200g;
chervil 50g (garnish)
tin coconut milk
one chilli 25g;
garlic 50g
diced cocoyam 300g
one vegetarian stock cube

Simmer cocoyam until soft (15-20 mins) in a large saucepan.

Lightly fry spring onion, chilli, garlic in olive oil with a teaspoonful of sesame oil. Then add tomato, cover, simmer gently for five minutes.

In a blender, liquidise fried vegetables, add coconut milk, stock cube, and then gradually add cocoyam.

Pour into the large saucepan, return to gentle heat, adding water as necessary to make soup at your preferred consistency.

Serve garnished with chervil and crusty bread rolls…

Serves three, takes 40 minutes (digging not included)

Jerry Coleby-Williams

21st May 2013 


8 Comments Add yours

  1. Chance family says:

    We were lucky enough to visit your amazing ‘Bellis’ Jerry and despite the downpour, wandered around and gained some valuable knowledge to apply in our own garden. We didn’t get the opportunity to ask what was growing on your verge though?
    Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to visit Bellis. Television does not do it justice.

    1. Thank you. I’m growing sweetpotato, Ipomoea batatas ‘Marguerite’; Aloe vera; a grafted red-flowering gum, Corymbia ficifolia and also Wallum banksia, Banksia aemula

  2. Teena says:

    wow so many people! I’m glad to see it was a great success!

  3. Arthur says:

    My wife and I planned a visit to our daughter and grandkids in Brisbane to coincide with your open garden weekend. We got a little wet but really enjoyed seeing what you have achieved in your small suburban block. My daughter Alison is a very keen food producer and we were able to purchase some seedlings to encourage her in sustainably producing some of her family’s food needs in a rented property in St Lucia. We hope to be back in the future.

  4. Av says:

    Hi Jerry, my family and I really enjoyed visiting Bellis on Mother’s Day. It was a real treat. And boy, did we learn alot and have our eyes opened. Your garden is really wonderful and very inspiring. We hope to visit again. Until then, I’m converting my yard into something that gives us both joy and food. The first plant I have been looking for is cocoyam! Luckily I’ve found a source.
    Thanks for opening your garden to us. I hope your lawn didn’t take to long to recover.

    1. Many thanks for supporting Open Gardens Australia. The lawn will recover, but damage to the guinea pigs’ pasture was pretty bad!

  5. Jan Clark says:

    Hi Jerry,
    We enjoyed visiting your garden and found ourselves in your photos. We needed more time to take it all in and ask questions. There was so much in a small space? We find a major problem is getting enough sun. Do you find this with so many trees around? Can you tell me where I can access coco yam and the edible canna?

    1. Dear Steve and Jan,
      Most crops need a minimum of six hours sunshine. Every time I open my garden in autumn or winter people think it’s very shaded because they forget the angle of the sun varies seasonally, as does its intensity. I don’t lack sunshine here. I grow sensitive crops in shade, I grow crops to create shade, I grow things in styrofoam boxes (like strawberries) so I can shift them into or away from sunshine as necessary. I also use old net curtains for sun or frost protection.
      Try community gardens for cocoyam and arrowroot (Canna edulis).

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