On Thursday, after months of unavoidable absence, I returned to volunteer in the Food Garden at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. This provided stimulating opportunities to meet old friends, bask under the big blue sky, enjoy the sparkling light on the plants, glory in the diversity of plants now growing and waiting to be planted, and meander around more than the Food Garden. Over past years I have focused on the domestic fruit and veggies, and this time I remembered there is much more to this, one of Hobart’s most fabulous locations. More about that later.
On arrival Neil was hard at work clearing the land surrounding the jump over apples.
Tony was harvesting produce ready to distribute to charitable organisations. This included digging out the tasty wasabi rocket and later picking off the leaves for easier consumption in fresh salads.
My job for the day was to pod the soy beans ready for planting. Meanwhile Adam rotary-hoed garden beds.
Pam and Sandra focused on, lifted and sent off for destruction pesty onion weed.
Tiny kids from a local school visited for an hour. They scurried around looking for specific plants.
In garden beds across the Food Garden I spotted: strawberry plants with flowers, rows of glistening silver beet plants, bolting brassicas and more, proliferating rhubarb, strong upright sunflower plants, dramatic growth on the hops, a bee haven amidst the calendula and borage, a few new plants of zucchini, flourishing celery, a potentially great crop of berries, garlic, leeks growing next to a crop of onions, and the indominatable globe artichokes.
None of this should be seen as your own supermarket – all the produce is destined for charitable organisations. The day concluded with the planting of dozens of KY1 tomatoes; a bush tomato.
Instead of walking to the Garden’s exit I changed my approach, avoided regulated pathways and wandered across broad expanses of lawn. In so doing, I ‘found’ trees whose existence I was aware of but would swear I had never seen. When viewed walking past on a path, I have never appreciated the full majesty of many trees.
The Cork Oak was a revelation up close. This is possibly the oldest tree in the Gardens having been planted over 200 years ago. I was in awe of the character of the surface of its trunk and branches.
The thickness of the bark of the Bunya pine, normally found in tropical climes, was a major surprise.
Elsewhere I came across a waratah garden containing at least 5 different varieties of this Australian plant. Dramatic unusual ‘flowers’.
Based on these experiences and ‘discoveries’ I will meander across other parts of the Gardens during subsequent visits. Our Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens are special in every season of the year and this moment is no exception.
Thank you for your blog. I am so glad you are back in your gardens. Wishing you joy and good health
Thanks Barbara. Being back there is almost better than a breath of fresh air – and, well, with all those plants outgoing fresh oxygen it is a healthy place to be. I love my own garden, but the Food Garden and further afield in the Botanical Gardens takes my pleasure to the next level.
So pleased you’re back in the Gardens!
Yes in a small way, but back there. Profoundly important to my mental health