The spring garden at Buda, Castlemaine

I have just spent a wonderful weekend at Castlemaine in rural Victoria, talking to and learning from gardeners from all over Victoria. Budafest was held to raise money for the historic home and garden, Buda, but also to connect with and inform gardeners about growing communities. We found out about public gardens and the greening of public spaces, gardening for produce and pleasure, community gardening and heritage gardens. I learnt things like: Average Australian houses are bigger than any other houses in the world (even 10% bigger than American houses); that we are having more 1 in 100 year weather events; that we need to preserve our public spaces and how important they are to our well-being; that landscapes are designed for people so we need to understand how people relate to them and that there is such a thing as Nature Deficit Disorder. All of this and more, just from the talk given by John Raynor from the University of Melbourne.




The succulent aloe vera

Aloe vera can be used to treat dry, flyaway hair.

I also discovered the story of the Newstead Community Garden and came to understand what an amazing place Newstead is. A real community in the best way possible. They welcome visitors to their garden so visit their garden blog and call in if you are passing though.

One of the many things I love about gardening is that we are always learning. Every time I give a talk I learn something as well. This time I learnt from Cherry that the sap from aloe vera can be rubbed into your hair as a conditioner and it is especially good for fine, flyaway hair. I know that it is often found in shampoos but it had never occured to me to rub it directly into my hair.

With spring almost here now is the time to head to your local nursery and buy some new plants. Try growing something different, an heirloom tomato, a fruit tree, a scented flower. Plants to feed your spirit as well as your body.


Plant something scented

Sow some seed

Grow a fruit tree

When things get tough, it’s so important to support our local industries. The Victorian nursery industry employs over 11,500 people and generates well over 1.5 billion dollars a year. Staff in garden centres are usually trained professionals so if you have questions they are well qualified to answer them. Garden Centres are celebrating spring by holding parties, so visit your local nursery to see what’s new and interesting and join them in their celebration.