Saturday am.....The forecast was for a cold change to bring rain and thunder but Erica and I were meeting at the Hobart Botanic Gardens Spring Fair at 10.30, rain, hail or shine.... and shine it did.
In Pete's Vegie Patch, Tino Carnevale from Gardening Australia spread his enthusiasm and smile over an attentive audience.... talking about this and that (crop rotation, compost, seasons etc etc) and tying it all together as only Tino can. He is a delightful man and I hope he stays with Gardening Australia for a long time. I'd love to meet his Italian father, who he speaks of often.
It is a treat to live in a state where vegetable gardening is such a popular thing. I love listening to Peter Cundall on gardening talkback, Saturdays from 9am (AM 936 and online from anywhere in the world) and seeing Tino in the Botanic Garden whenever there's a festival on. Peter is on holidays at the moment and Tino has taken his place on the radio.
Next stop, the Frog Hollow Nursery stall, selling heritage and unusual edible plants, propagated entirely by Zoe and Dave. It was heaven for me as I found some of my old favourites from Adelaide that I had not seen here before. Chinese sea shells, which I wrote about first back in 2007, caused me to gasp with delight and made the other customers at the stall laugh. Next was a strawberry called Cambridge Rival which I deem to be the best tasting strawberry in the universe, and so on it went until I had filled my basket and spent far too much money.
Wildseed Tasmania only sells its seedlings to the public at this fair (it is a wholesale nursery) and I was very excited to see them here again this year. Most but not all of the plants are Tasmanian and I collected many riparian delights for the edge of my pond. I am going to stock Wildseed Tasmania's seed collections very soon in my Garden Shed.
Next to Pete's Vegie Patch, The Friends of the Bot. Gardens were selling plants raised from seeds and cuttings sourced from the gardens and again I made quite a collection which they kindly stored for later pick-up.
Back at Erica's and the promised rain bucketed down. Never mind, we just had another coffee until a break in the clouds let us get out and plant Erica's very much smaller collection of plants.
Sunday am Cold, wet and windy was the forecast but again I managed to grab the sunshine in my shirtsleeves as I wandered the Farmgate Market in Melville Street. Two of my favourite bloggers have stalls there and I was keen to catch up with them and see what goodies they were selling. Chris has Hobart Kitchen Gardens blog and a fabulous stall of vegetable seedlings raised by him and sold singly for 50c to $1..... amazing value and you know they are local, hardened off and perfect for the current season. Paulette has Provenance Growers, and a stall to drool over, where you will find interesting, edible native and non-native plants all grown by herself..... this is where I bought my wasabi.
So, laden to the gunnels with mostly food plants, I headed home..... and at Oyster Cove, nearly home, while picking up a few bananas and oranges from Ye Olde Store, the temperature dropped to 7 degrees and the rain and hail let loose. At home I lit the fire and marvelled at how lucky I was with the weather all weekend.