Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show

By Penny Woodward

Diggers' pumpkins, gourds and chillis

Diggers' pumpkins, gourds and chillis

We are so lucky to have such a good garden show in Melbourne, and an unsurpassed site in the Carlton Gardens and the Exhibition Building. I was there for four of the five days and don’t think I have seen so many people in previous years. There were some wonderful display gardens, fabulous floral displays and interesting gardening related commercial stands. Read more

All About Tomatoes

All about tomatoes and potatoes, peppers and other relatives, is another excellent book from Diggers and Clive Blazey. Although this small book does have all you need to know for your tomatoes to grow and thrive, it also looks at the history of tomatoes, talks about open-pollinated versus hybrid seed and why we all need to grow and save the free, open-pollinated, non hybridised types. Diggers has done years of research into tomatoes and their yields, colour, texture and flavour. Clive has listed the 60 that they think are the best. With mouth watering beautiful colour photos it’s hard to resist planting them straight away. But there are nearly 5500 heirloom varieties available around the world so maybe you need to try some of those too. The majority of the book is about tomatoes, but there are 8 pages at the back that cover some tomato relatives like potatoes, capsicums, eggplants, pepino and several more. Borrow it from your library, buy it from an independent bookshop or online from Diggers

All About Tomatoes by Clive Blazey, The Diggers Club, Dromana, Australia. Hardcover, 80pages, $24.95

Heirloom vegetables and heritage fruit

Last weekend saw a celebration of old cultivars and varieties of both fruit and vegetables. At Diggers Heronswood, Dromana it has been the Harvest Festival Weekend with a really beautiful array of pumpkins and squashes, garlic for sale and tomatoes to taste. Nearly all of these are heirloom or open pollinated varieties that are so important both for our gardening history and our future. Heirloom and heritage varieties  are an integral part of organic gardening, many are the result of selective breeding over numerous generations so that they show special characteristics.


Turk's Turban, Delicata, Potimarron, Australian Butter, Buttercup and Bohemian are just a few of the heirloom varieties of pumpkins available to grow.

Pumpkins and gourds come in all shapes and sizes

Heirloom varieties of squash, gourds and small pumpkins









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