Well the day held some wobbly but manageable weather, our optimism paid off! It was a bit of an adventure down the driveway, but a hospitable welcome awaited our cheerful group.traight into a cuppa, nibbles and chatting, then, spotting a dryish
moment, we took a waltz around the garden. There was an established,
integrated chook run/orchard and new netted vege patch underway. Our
hosts have extensive alternative health knowledge, so lots of
interesting and unusual herbals are mixed into the rambling gardens. We
were impressed by the frost-protected banana/papaya tower and a
Under construction is another mud brick
guest accommodation, for others to come and enjoy the beauty and
ambiance of Lowanna.
Back undercover for a fabulous lunch, well timed with yet another downpour.
Then Andrew 'twisted our arms' for a bush
walk down to their beautiful river. The intrepid jumped in and the rest
of us fended off the friendly leeches
Then the day concluded, with some cheeky patches of blue sky, as we
assembled back into our car pools and carefully negotiated our way back
to the main road.
Thanks Andrew and Judy - we will definitely have to revisit this one!
The deluge cleared and the seed packing day
at Chris's in Raleigh produced over 800 bags locally grown seed just in
time for this year's Bellingen Autumn plant fair. Eleven busy bees
cleaned, sorted, and bagged a diverse range of seeds ready for
Jeff from Boambee brought a basket load of Blue Lake climbing beans, San
Marzano & Camp Joy tomatoes, and Cherry Belle radish. Jeff &
Tara from Coffs supplied bags of snow peas, including the renowned
Bohemian sugar pea which has yielded well for many gardeners over the
past two years.How lucky we are, to be in this blessed pocket of the country, at this time...
Ten other gardeners from Dorrigo, Bello, Valla Beach, Southwest Rocks,
and Glenreagh supplied various beans, herbs, salad veg and leafy greens.
New seed savers: Annie from Bonville learned the art of cleaning
brassicas and Helen from Woolgoolga got good exercise processing radish
pods. Merren also got good finger therapy opening bean pods.
Seed processing was accompanied by a
delicious spread of lunch snacks and cakes all enjoyed on Chris’s
verandah looking out over scenic Raleigh wetlands and pasture.
Three days later the process concluded with
seed packet labelling at the Old Butter Factory, and as usual the
volunteers were treated to scrumptious cakes and coffees.
Our seed stocks were boosted to over 1400 packets ready for the plant fair.
Thanks to Chris for hosting the seed
cleaning, to all the volunteers who helped out and those who donated the
seeds. Without seeds we will cease to exist.
Bellingen plant fair
We were rewarded with a bright Bellingen day
for the autumn plant fair. Conditions were relatively dry for the most
part, even if a little squelchy underfoot.
Market stallholders were slightly down, but there were plenty of
punters, and all displays were plundered as per usual; our collective
gardening enthusiasm will not be dampened!
We moved a lot of stock, both greens and
seeds, and also exchanged knowledge and experiences. A thriving joyful
atmosphere, filled by people laden with growing goodies.
How lucky we are, to be in this blessed pocket of the country, at this time...
Yet another successful day resulting from
the contributions of many volunteers. Thanks to all involved, including
those who worked on our stall: Jeff, Mary, Lesley, Jeff, Tara, Don,
Phillipa, Shunyam, Leela, Chris, Merren, Chris, Gillian, Lisa, Luigi,
Kristy, Charlie, Charles.
Terry's Garden in South West Rocks and Kimbo's patch
It was a dreary, wet trek down the mountain
and along the coast for me that soggy Thursday. I thought maybe 6 or so
diehards might show up. Well, as it turned out, i was 10 minutes late to
the party already happening at Terry's house! Many beaming faces
already there and a few more following me.
A lively discussion ensued on Terry's
background, broad experience, hopes and aspirations for his garden and
the local community of South West Rocks.
Still the rain came down!
So, brollys in hand, we trooped around the garden to see what's been
started and offered our 2 cents worth on the planning and siting of
Terry's productive garden beds.
Then lunch beckoned - we obliged with the usual gusto.
Still the rain came down!
Undaunted, we hopped into a car pool to
visit a thriving market garden in the centre of town. Kimbo, the main
gardener, was not there to witness our amazement at his prolific produce
and fabulous black soil. Sadly, after 10yrs of enrichment and supplying
the community with super fresh goodies, the property is to be developed
later this year. We each fantasised about making off with a barrowful
of that black gold.
Still the rain came down!
Back to Terry's to polish off the remnants of the feast.
Strangly, not much enthusiasm for kayaking in the persistant drizzle,
but what better activity on a wet day than a leisurely lunch with
Thanks Terry and Kimbo for sharing your gardens with us.
Judy and Andrew are natural therapists with specialties in meditation, massage and herbalism. They have been on their MO for a couple of decades, running a successful airbnb as well as improving and adding to the initial buildings and gardens. Now they are mostly retired and throwing themselves fully into the productive gardens.
We're invited for a morning tour of their netted chook/orchard and vegie tunnels, with lunch to follow.
They also have an amazing waterhole at the bottom of property, so for those who have time to linger, a spot of natural bushwalking and a quick dip might also be on the cards - bring your cozzie!
If you are coming down with something, please do not attend the garden tour.
Coming? please click here to RSVP, to obtain the address and so we know who’s attending. Please RSVP even if you already know how to get there.
Joshua is looking for peanut inoculant or some soil from around inoculated peanuts. If you can help Joshua, please email by clicking here...
Vic is looking for Murnong (Yam Daisy) and is interested in growing some plants. Do you have any seed or can you offer any advice about growing it in the Bellingen area? If you can help Vic, please email by clicking here...
Are you looking for particular seeds or plants? Do you have an abundance of something to give away? Email in to email@example.com for your search or offer to be put in the newsletter in this section.
Thanks to Jeff for the photos. Thanks to Leela for the blurb on our next garden visit and the write up from the Bellingen Community Garden visit.