It all started when A of the Food Garden at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens (RTBG) invited all its volunteers to lunch at his property. Immediately we considered the tasty treats we could create from any of our gardens, and looked forward to seeing each other again. Naturally I focused on weeds; there had to be another weed soup for the occasion! Others focused on meat and vegetables.
I foraged for a dandelion and its look-a-likes and ended with half a large bucket of the leaves of one dandelion, one cat’s ear and a mountain of milkthistle plants. After extensive washing and more washing and then the weeding out of unknown weeds, I had a large bowl of edible leaves.
These were boiled into a soup of vegetable stock, garlic, onion, Dutch Cream potatoes, sweet potato and seasoned with white and black pepper. Then blended. Ready to take to the party.
Fifteen of us gathered, and then for a few hours we meandered, chatted amiably, wandered some more and enjoyed the extensive garden.
As usual whenever we all come together the weather was sunny and the sky blue. The hard contrasts of the afternoon sun were extreme, making taking useful photos a challenge.
Three different outdoor cooking sites seemed excessive but each had its role; a venison on the Weber shown above, venison shanks on the open fire at the top of the block, and kebabs and more on the BBQ.
Hot pots of alcoholic and non-alcoholic gluhwein were perpetually heated for our consumption.
The remnants of many denuded brassicas were a testament to the well-developed urge by a large wallaby to hop over the high wooden back fence then out of the property across another high side fence after eating lots of new growth and more.
But apparently the taste of lettuce is not to its liking; these plants were untouched, and some brassicas remained in a whole state.
Hay bales rotting away seemed to act as a means of controlling water flow down a very steep block.
Bees buzzed helpfully in and out from their hives.
The guinea pigs shyly hid from view. Without attention, they are wonderful grass mowers.
Spring bulbs were bursting through and flowering everywhere.
Flowering correa offered splashes of colour.
Inside there was some standing around enjoying the warmth pumping from the wood heater. At one end of the room we marvelled at a few slow moving small dragons resting and living comfortably in a glass chamber.
On one wall hung an extraordinary photo of A’s partner A’s father in Antarctica watching a baby albatross. Sensational.
The camaraderie doesn’t stop. We keep meeting and feeling that the mutually agreeable excitement we have for our gardens and the RTBG Food Garden, never ceases. Everyone enjoyed the sumptuous meal and finished with L’s perfectly formed and very tasty banana cake.
This was a wonderful afternoon of warm generous hospitality and of renewed great friendships, which augers well for all our futures. Thanks A and A.