RTBG 1 August 2019

Followers of my blog will be ready for a new story of my experience with the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens  (RTBG) today.  Alas. I am bound to disappoint you.  I haven’t gone to work in the Food Garden of the RTBG. And I am bound to disappoint those who have gone to volunteer.  Previously I declared firmly that it never rains on a Thursday when I am at the RTBG. On and off it is raining across the mountain, across the city and Botanical Gardens and then across to where I live in Bellerive. I would love to say that if I travelled over to the western side of the Derwent River the rain would stop, but I know I am not in control of the weather – and the weather gods have reminded us of that fact.

Last week our Coordinator listed all the jobs we could choose to be undertaking today.  I remember it was a big list. An interesting list. A list with a variety of place and experience. But now I can only remember a few jobs – which for a few volunteers will take all day.

  • Another truck load of gravel would be ready for redistributing along those Food Garden pathways that had not yet been renewed. I hope that a sufficient number of volunteers have appeared so a mountain of gravel does not sit blighting the view of Garden visitors for the next week, and can be barrow loaded along and then spread.
  • Seed potatoes would be planted in the patch prepared last week. Each potato (only cut in two if really large) should be pushed down through the hillocks to the level of the furrows and a little under half a metre apart.  A couple of different potato types would be planted in dedicated rows and then a label at the end of each will identify the potatoes as they grow.
  • The bales of straw would be spread across all the upper ground along the brick wall, around the fruit trees.
  • Nursery Coordinator Margot would be happy to welcome two volunteers into the nursery for a couple of hours of new work.
  • Further cumquats could be picked.
  • The Loaves & Fishes/Second Bite pickers would gather leaves and vegetables for distribution to the homeless and needy.
  • And, of course, weeding would always be an ongoing must-do activity.

I am missing out on these experiences today so what am I doing instead?  My university studies in the Science of Gardening are threatening to fall behind if time today isn’t allocated.  In addition to the fortnightly quiz (this time covering four chapters of information thick with new words, concepts and knowledge) which needs answering by the end of Sunday (with allowance for only one attempt), an assignment requiring real time real soil testing and analysis is due.

The depth and breadth of this course is mind extending.  I hadn’t realised how ignorant I was.  Today, as I prepared my lunch I found myself looking more closely and thoughtfully at the lettuce leaves I chopped for a salad.  I have a new appreciation for the miracle of plants and how clever they are.  Their design and the complexity of their internal and connecting operations are a marvellous revelation.  I had never understood that without plants no animal or other organism can live.  Perhaps I knew that fact in a superficial sense but only now am I grasping it in a profound way.

In closing this blog post, I will leave you with my question. I am curious to know whether more fruit or nut trees have burst into bloom in the RTBG Food Garden (last week I noted the almond tree in blossom).  Are those in your gardens bursting into early spring blooms yet?

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