A few weeks ago a Hobart vegetable market sold me tomatoes which they claim were grown in a hot house in New Norfolk. They tasted full and rich as if they had been grown in a southern summer sun. I wanted to find out more and buy more. So last weekend friend J and I headed west of Hobart to one of the first established towns in Tasmania (1808 – five years after the first colonial settlement at Risdon not far from the centre of current Hobart). We travelled roughly 35 kms from Hobart to New Norfolk passing by the side of the Derwent River. Before the centre of this historic town we deviated left and wandered through a spreading residential area before spotting the Derwent Valley Community Garden ‘down in a hollow’, somewhat as a friend had described it to me – off The Avenue. It was on a flat next to the river which undoubtedly over the years had been flooded and silted and amassed a spread of great soil.
I was impressed by the scale of the Community Garden: fenced, many personal and communal plots, an extensive irrigation system, open access, and an honour system to pay for any produce taken.
Of all the produce I would have been interested in, only Brussel sprouts appealed. However, without a knife to cut a stalk I came away without taking/buying any produce.
Evidence of commitment and devotion were everywhere.
The diversity of plants was impressively labelled.
Playful whimsy was also in evidence.
My friend and I were the only ones present. Nearby, a track followed the Lachlan River and occasional walkers with their happy dogs proceeded along. Pastoral. Peaceful.