Dear Diggers (Autumn 2015)

Contributions and feedback from our readers following the Autumn Flower Garden 2015 issue.

Differing views on “activist gardeners”

Dear Clive, I've just read the very polite and well articulated 'Dear Diggers' letter from Elizabeth T in Summer Garden 2015.
I entirely agree with the point Elizabeth makes and am disappointed that you have entirely missed it.
Taking the liberty of presenting any political view, in some cases biased and purporting to represent members is inappropriate, out of place and without mandate.
Perhaps your opinion is not always the one that counts. A little humility would not go astray.
Regards, Steve C.

Dear Steve, the name Diggers is 365 years old and applies to activist gardeners who were led by Gerrand Winstanley and fought a campaign to grow their own food on public land that had been privatised as effectively disenfranchising the poor. Please look it up on the internet.
Some of us feel just as strongly about the arrogance of man that refuses to live as part of our eco-system instead of dominating it. Collapsing bio-diversity and climate destabilisation threaten all species including arrogant homo-sapiens.
Your comment about humility is apt in the sense that the word you accuse me of lacking i.e. ‘humility’ is derived from the same Latin root as ‘humus’ which is at the core of what we are trying so hard to preserve. Yours sincerely, Clive Blazey

Dear Elizabeth T, in regard to your letter re activist gardening.
Every act and decision we make is political. Politics is about the locus of power. To consciously act against the dominant political paradigm can be considered activism – but not to act or to believe that one can exist in a politically free space is, in actual fact, giving consent to the political status quo – thus also a political act in itself.
I applaud Clive Blazey's outspoken stance on such important environmental issues. We need more brave voices not less. The Diggers Club will get 25 years membership out of me as a result! Thank you, Karen Z.

Dear Karen, thanks for your support.  We only write about what we believe in, but don't want to offend as we appear to do for some.  We give space to alternative opinions in Dear Diggers to try and keep everyone on board.  Best wishes, Clive

On parsley and keeping an open mind...

Dear Editor, when I have an over supply of parsley (the curly variety) I wash it all, cut it up roughly and put it into plastic boxes in the freezer. When you need it, just scrape some out into your omelette etc. and put the rest back in the freezer. I use a little knife. It's better than drying it and quicker.
I like the way you include letters from people who disagree with you, including climate change deniers etc. – very democratic.
I like to keep an open mind on these things – always remembering the Y2K debacle with people predicting that all the computers would stop in 2000. If the earth produced us it should be able to cope with us one way or another – disease, earthquakes, fire, floods etc. or even terrorists! Bunny C

SORRY, WE ARE GARDENERS ONLY!
We've copped a bit of flack at Heronswood since limiting access to Heronswood House and its restaurant to members only (and their signed in guests) or to paying visitors who wish to also visit the gardens.
Many people think they should be able to dine at Heronswood House for free, have lunch and go, but we see the historic house restaurant as a special place for our members and garden visitors. We wanted to give members the opportunity of dining in the historic house as part of their membership as their subscriptions assist the Trust to maintain the historic properties and gardens.
Unfortunately the car park was taken up by people who wanted to eat and run, so after relocating the restaurant, we had to use our limited seats in the historic house for our members and their friends first, and garden visitors second. We see it as an additional benefit to members and visitors to not only see the amazing gardens, but now to be able to walk around inside this neo-Gothic masterpiece.
Shop and run coffee!
So we apologise to those non-members who have complained, but we have put in a ‘stable door’ café for anyone who wants to shop and run, so you can still shop at the garden shop, buy coffee and cake without paying entry, and find a peaceful place in the half acre of garden or nursery that is free for anyone to visit (and has incredible views)!
I’m afraid we can’t make everyone happy, but you know at Diggers it will always be members and gardeners first!
Lisa Remato, CEO Marketing and Retail

Thumbs up for Sun Rose!

Dear Clive, I agree that this is an excellent ground cover – a living mulch, even.  Another virtue is ease of control as it doesn't put down roots along the stems.  Ours spread a lot further than a metre but are easy to manage by chopping unwanted growth with a spade, a very useful attribute!  Regards, Dinah W.

Vegies and herbs in a Dandenong park!

Gidday Clive and the team,
I thought I'd send you some pics of the recently planted vegetable and herb bed in a public park in the middle of Dandenong, as the corn in the centre of the two ends of the bed is a mix of YOUR dwarf varieties grown from seed!!
I'm a new employee of Greater Dandenong Council in the Parks team, working as a qualified gardener and extremely excited about the opportunity to be able to follow my passion of growing and showcasing edibles!
This particular garden bed, (along with many other beds in the municipality) has previously always been planted out with annuals such as petunias, salvias, etc. in the typical council way.
It's now full to overflowing with heirloom corn, gorgeous mix of lettuces, herbs, capsicums and marigolds.
It's been a very successful project, generating loads of interest, and receiving so much positive feedback from the public, from old and young, has been really amazing!
To be able to help raise the awareness and interest about how easily vegies can be grown whilst at the same time being able to provide an aesthetically appealing garden bed in a public space is an absolute win-win for everyone!
We are also currently working with Burnley Uni in creating more garden beds to trial some of the more unusual edibles that are generally thought of to be more tropical, yet are proving very successful down south such as sweet potatoes, yams, cassava etc.
As Dandenong is such a culturally diverse area, I'm sure there will be lots of familiar plants for many different people.
I feel that this is just the beginning of the Council's encouragement and support in providing education and inspiration in the whole process, as we are now investigating ways to promote sustainability and healthy eating and food choices, through the produce being distributed to charities and local cafés.
I'm soooo excited I just had to share with you!
Keep up the amazing work you do, Rachael W
Editor's note: In late November, the council harvested the lettuces, which were distributed to people in need via local charities and church groups. There is a new design underway for winter.

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