Bespoke Gardener to Speak Gardening

Simon Rickard is coming to the Garden

Renowned Australian gardener and educator, Simon Rickard is coming to the Newstead Community Garden for a full day workshop on growing fruit trees in the home or community garden on Sunday 20 November.

It’s under the banner of ‘All Year Harvest’. It’s not easy to feed a family or community year-round from the garden in central Victoria’s growing conditions. Most people can grow a few veges over summer, but it is a challenge to be self sufficient through all the seasons; to have a real diversity of produce and not just stoically survive on silverbeet and kale for most of it.

Simon Rickard works as a botanical guide locally and overseas and commentates on all things gardening, for television, radio and the web. Simon also knows the challenges of growing to demand. He is currently managing a large kitchen garden for restaurateur Annie Smithers in Kyneton and charged with providing the fresh produce for her bistrot kitchen. Prior, Simon was head gardener at both Diggers’ Club gardens; Heronswood, on the Mornington Peninsula and St Erth at Blackwood.

Simon says the project with Annie Smithers has proved to be great fun since they embarked to grow bespoke produce in 2008.

‘It’s been so successful that we are expanding the growing area and putting in crops as diverse as heirloom pears, garlic and micro-herbs,’ he says.

‘I’m really looking forward to spending the day in Newstead’s garden, a great example of a community gardening together and sharing the harvest. I hope I can help expand that harvest in fruit and vegetables,’ Simon says.

The workshop is aimed at anyone with an interest in growing their own food and not just our members – it will be relevant to other gardens. As well as a formal presentation, Simon will lead us on a garden ramble – he’s an experienced botanical guide – and a lengthy Q&A session.

Our garden is only 18 months old and still developing, but there’s a good array of crops and plenty to look at and discuss. We have a mix of young dwarf and heritage fruit trees with some pest and disease issues already, as well as pruning and espaliering questions for Simon.

If Simon runs out of things to say he can always play – in his spare time, he’s a musician. As a baroque bassoonist, he played with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and now Pinchgut Opera.

The Newstead Community Garden is in Layard Street, rear of Anglican Church in Panmure Street, and on Sunday November 20th, participants should arrive at 10am for a 10.30am start. Lunch and refreshments are provided, with a 4pm finish.  Workshop fees are $40 or $30 for Newstead Community Garden members.

A second workshop will be held on Sunday 18 March, 2012. Penny Woodward, the doyen of edible and useful plants, will present a half day workshop on herbs and companion plants and her books will be available for sale.

To register, contact, Janet on 0417 379 643, or, Mary on 5476 2593.


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