Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Sensible report by Christa.  

The January Garden Visit was held at the home of Dianne and Graham Caswell.  Quite a few BLF members were keen to see this garden. 

With about 19 guests attending, we all arrived at our early start of 9.30am for a chat, cuppa, and talk.  The tucker table was loaded with fine goodies from home made cakes and slices to yummy little wraps and fresh sliced fruit and more.    Coffee was supplied as well an a nice iced tea which was quite popular.  The table setting was surrounded by manicured Lily Pillies and some olive trees in large pots and some chili plants here and there.  Over near the back fence was a mulberry tree which was just within reach of some. 

The swap table was abundant as usual and plants fruit, seedlings, and fruit trees were there to take home and plant.   The garden tour started and stopped as we were surprised by a downpour from the heavens, but after a swift relocation we waited for the cloud to pass over us. 

We took this time to study and peer at some of the books that Dianne had on the table for small change, donated to BLF funds.  Your choice from $1 to $10 for Chef’s cookbooks.   I managed to buy a couple of cheesemaking books that came highly recommended by Andy.

We then began our visit through to the first little garden room, on our way we went past Diannes herb garden with plenty of fragrant leaf for cooking and looking.   A row of potted geraniums which will be a sight to see, when they start flowering.   Then on to the back corner with a centre tree named an Amla, or Indian gooseberry as it is also known.  Around that section were fruit trees of all kinds and beautiful pawpaw and passionfruit vines on the side fence.

The next section was her veggie garden beds in amongst some tall trees and Mango trees. Opposite is the new area for her Tomato crops with bug free netting installed by Graham. 

Then on to the Tropical Garden which occupied a little dark corner of the house, but was full of beautiful plants and ferns.  Diannes garden is a surprise around every corner.  After going through the Wisteria alcove which was covered in vine leaf, pity we could not see it in flower.

Then moved on the orange-grove which is a row of citrus trees which one day will be intertwined to form a hedge of citrus plants.  That will take some work, but Dianne can manage that easily.   This brings us to the floral part of the garden at which Dianne excels.  Showing here her past experience at displaying flowers at their best. 

This leads on to the Fig Grove which I am sure has had cuttings sent to different gardens in our group.   I noticed 2 large brown pots positioned in the front garden.  This area has had some tree cutting done to allow more light and sun into the display area.  Did I mention that Dianne has won competitions in the past for her beautiful gardens. 

A few of the visitors were interested in the array of salvia and roses and the visit ended up with a gathering around the Wampi tree (Guy Sam variety) and also the Capulin Cherry. 

The yellow flowered plant that was asked about was Asystasia gangetica “Alba” (aka Coromandel) is a perennial plant , the leaf and young shoots are edible and the the leaves are consumed as a popular vegetable, mixed with beans, groundnut or sesame paste.  It  can be used like a soap to clean hands and has many medicinal properties.   It is attractive to butterflies and may need to be kept under control at times as it likes to sprawl, but is easy to maintain.

We would like to thank Dianne and Graham Caswell for hosting the visit and we know that Dianne has done a lot of work despite being ill these last few months.

Report about Andy's impressions

Dianne's garden has always inspired me.  There is something very special about it.  It is an artistic garden.  One that has been tended by folks with a real eye for detail and perfection.  It's exudes a creative aura to me that I haven't managed to capture as well at my own place.  

I love the feel of different garden "rooms" as you wander about, following beautiful meandering paths under archways of greenery that eventually lead to delightful places to sit and take it all in.  I did tell Dianne that I intended to steal that idea but she and Graham have managed to pull it off in a much more masterful way than I ever could. 

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Replies to This Discussion

These are a few of the photos that Graham took for Christa's Report.

Thanks you so much Christa & Andy for your lovely words, I am so happy that you enjoyed your visit. Graham has been a big help to me in the garden over the past year since his (Retirement???).

A lovely garden. Thank you, Dianne and Graham for hosting us on Sunday.

Thank you for hosting Dianne and Graham. As always, your garden is an inspiration and it's helped me work out what to do with my south-east corner after many months of frustration. 
Although you talk about garden rooms, I think you take it a step further into placemaking.
Placemaking is all the rage in urban planning these days but I first heard it from Michael McCoy and his Dream Gardens program where he kept talking about creating spaces/places to be in, not just look at. 

As we get older, those garden rooms and seats are fantastic ideas. So work, sit and enjoy. Who cares about any future lockdown.
Thanks Graham and Dianne, I learnt a lot from your beautiful garden.

Good point!


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Vetiver grass helps to stabilise soil and protects it against erosion.  It can protect against pests and weeds. Vetiver is also used as animal feed. (Wiki.)

GrowVetiver is a plant nursery run by Dave & Keir Riley that harvests and grows Vetiver grass for local community applications and use. It is based in Beachmere, just north of Brisbane, Australia.

Place your business add here! ($5 per month or $25 for 9 months)

Talk to Andy on 0422 022 961.  You can  Pay on this link

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