In a region greatly affected by the worst drought in living memory, we were united in seeing gardening as a great way to alleviate anxiety and bring the community together. We had planned for 50 – 80 to attend, but 140 registered. An indication of how valuable our gardens are and how practical regional gatherings like this can be for our mental and spiritual health and our sense of community.
“There is one rainforest plant from northern Australia every coastal garden should grow: Phaleria clerodendron, the scented daphne. This compact tree can be grown as far south as Sydney and it will fill a garden with fragrant flowers up to three times as year…unless Australians discover and grow this magical plant, who else will?”
“Let’s keep planting the right lilly pillies for trouble-free hedges and a diversity of Syzygium species to enhance our environment and keep our culinary traditions alive.”
If you’re watering plants with grey water, the type of detergent you use really makes a difference to both their health and the health of the soil.
How do you approach tree planting? “All life on Earth is now experimental. Thanks to a lack of Australian climate leadership, we grow crops and plant gardens in uncharted climate territory. If this is the future of gardening, then we must embrace experimental tree planting for shade, food, fodder and biodiversity”. Jerry Coleby-Williams, Founder of Bellis, Brisbane’s award-winning, affordable sustainable house and garden; Director, Seed Saver’s Network; Patron, National Toxics Network; Patron, Householder’s Options for Protecting the Environment, 2nd February 2019.
Question: A Brisbane landscape supplier sold me soil for my raised vegetable beds. All my vegetables keep failing. I did a soil pH Test and the result was pH 9. Is there any hope I’ll be able to grow spring crops successfully?
Thuan’s market garden: 1,500 sq m of alluvial, sandy loam in a flood plain of the Perfume River catchment, Hue, Vietnam. Fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices, flowers, poultry – and incense – in a prolifically productive, wet, inland subtropical climate.
We ignore the following key aspects of sustainable food production at our peril:
* A culture of forgetting – we forget our horticultural history;
* Declining crop diversity, both in the range of species grown and in the genetic diversity within each crop;
* The oversimplification and impoverishment of systems of food production;
* A reluctance to apply the precautionary principle where using the least toxic solution in crop protection comes first;
I’m waiting for the summer wet season to start. Until the rain arrives, there is little cloud to filter the hot sunlight. Thank goodness for old net curtains and shadecloth! I thought I would check my crops against those commonly grown in Vietnam. Despite the average weather, I have 114 different crops growing in my 300…
Question: “Hi Jerry, This year I have had the worst infestation of mealybug ever. My garden has never had them in the past, but this year everything including established Gordonia’s five metres high are white with them. I have lost quite a few hibiscus to them. Is this a bad year? Do you have one of your…
“Parasites aren’t all bad, and mistletoes deserve a rethink. If you study them, you’ll discover that they’re fascinating Australian plants making a valuable contribution to the environment.”
This is a call on gardeners to send me a photograph showing how you have put the nature back into your nature strip. A short sentence explaining what footpath gardening means to you would add value. Please email your images to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheers, Jerry Coleby-Williams