Eat, shop or wander through Canberra’s country village

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In this sponsored post “CityNews” meets the people of Pialligo who make Canberra’s country village a treat to eat, shop and wander around.

THE arrival of spring and the warmer weather makes Pialligo a wonderful spot for home gardeners to pick up new plants or garden decor, or just a gorgeous place to have brunch surrounded by greenery.

The rural, country-village style suburb is known as the “fruit bowl” of Canberra because of the richly fertile soil there.

The name Pialligo has been used for the area since at least 1820 and is likely of Aboriginal origin. Streets in Pialligo are named with Aboriginal words.

Based around Beltana Road, Pialligo is home to nursery gardens, apple orchards, landscaping suppliers, art galleries, gift shops, restaurants and cafés.

Plants to enhance and style the home

LIVING Simply started as an indoor plant hire company in Pialligo 30 years ago to enhance shopping centres, government departments or offices, says owner Graham Holbrook. 

Over the years it has expanded to offer the sale of plants, home and garden items and landscaping services. 

Living Simply has recently introduced a property styling service, with in-house stylist Jay Hinton providing consultations to improve the look of clients’ homes prior to sale. 

Graham says that Jay utilises Living Simply’s range of plants and water features to transform homes, particularly the exteriors.  

“Our boutique retail store offers feature plants, a wide range of garden furniture, wall art, gifts and water features,” he says. 

Living Simply also has a landscape consultation, design and build service, where a designer will meet on site for an initial consultation, then customise a design by incorporating the ideas discussed and, finally, the landscaper will work directly with the client and contractor. 

“We’re a multi-disciplined business where you can purchase products, but also hire or get professional styling to dress a house for sale,” he says. 

Living Simply, 10 Beltana Road, Pialligo. Call 6249 1552 or visit

Pink flowered Kurrajong.                              Red flowered Yellow Gum.

Knowledgeable about natives

SINCE opening in Pialligo in 2015, Cool Country Natives has stocked an ever-varying range of quality, cooler-climate natives.

Owner Karen Brien says it’s Canberra’s only native plant retail nursery and is open seven days a week. 

On the first Saturday of November, December, February, March, April and May, Cool Country Natives will host markets in which five growers have stalls. 

“We will have talks or guest speakers at 10.30am on different subjects, including pollinators, hedges and mulches,” she says. 

With a growing team of 10 knowledgeable staff, Karen says the whole team takes the time to happily talk to customers and help them with any queries.

Shoppers can find groundcovers, grasses, ferns, climbers and small-to-large shrubs and trees such as acacia, banksia, crowea, daisies, ferns and grevillea. 

Cool Country Natives also stock and propagate a range of locally endemic species to the Canberra region. 

“Native plants are drought hardy and the choice is getting bigger every year with the increase of good wholesale growers,” she says. 

Karen says they give a discount to members of the Australian Native Plant Society and friends of the Australian National Botanic Gardens.  

Cool Country Natives, 5A Beltana Road, Pialligo. Call 6257 6666 or 0402 307275, email or visit

Support with dignity and fun

WITH more than 40 years of experience, Richmond Fellowship ACT is the largest mental health recovery residential care provider in Canberra and the region, says its director of mental health, Amanda Urbanc.

Their motto is “we give you a go”, and Amanda says the Richmond Fellowship refocused its support in 2015 with the NDIS coming online.

“We offer fully supported residential accommodation to people whose mental health plans have been approved by the NDIS,” she says. 

As well as residential support, Richmond Fellowship’s programs include support coordination, which helps to implement people’s NDIS plans, peer mentoring, which helps to build individual skills, and group facilitation, which provides social and recreational activities. 

“Our group programs are held at our office in Pialligo,” says Amanda. 

“They are designed to focus on social interaction and boost confidence in interacting with others within a fun and supportive environment.

“We care about supporting people with enduring and severe mental illness and believe in their dignity and confidence as they make positive changes in their lives.” 

Richmond Fellowship ACT, Fairbairn Avenue, Pialligo. Call 6279 4900, email or visit

Christmas in store and clematis in bloom 

For 45 years, the Toll family have lived and worked at Rodney’s PlantsPlus in Pialligo, helping generations of Canberrans create beautiful gardens, says Fiona Toll, one of Rodney and Cheryl’s three daughters who grew up at the nursery. 

“We are a true family business, with three generations now working at the nursery,” says Fiona. 

Fiona says that Rodney’s café and its large outdoor playspace is a huge drawcard for families.  

Rodney’s has created special events over the years such as Carols by Candlelight, which will be held on December 12 and features the Woden Valley Youth Choir. 

Fiona says the nursery’s birthday celebrations will include a sale of 30 to 50 per cent off pots. Customers who spend more than $50 will go into the draw to win a water feature valued at $1000.

Until Sunday, December 1 Fiona says that Rodney’s will throw a massive indoor plants and succulent sale. 

“It is now one of the best times of the year to come in and get things for your garden,” says Fiona. 

“The clematis is currently in full bloom and looks amazing. We also have our Christmas displays and decorations available in the shop.”

Rodney’s PlantsPlus, 24 Beltana Road, Pialligo. Visit or call the nursery on 6248 6933 or the garden café on 6257 5822

Making the most of manure

The Hayshed is a family owned equestrian centre that aims to provide a unique agistment for the horse and rider.

Situated at 7 Beltana Road, Pialligo, The Hayshed also promotes the benefits of horse manure, which it provides to green-fingered Canberrans passionate about their gardens.

Using aged-composted horse manure releases nutrients as it is very fibrous and rots down quickly; by adding the manure to soil it will improve water retention and aeration.

Horse manure is not as strong as other manures and therefore should not burn plants, but as with all manures it should be well composted before use and should never be allowed to touch the trunk of the plants.

At The Hayshed, the manure has aged for at least nine months before it is sold to the public. During the ageing process, the manure is moved to three separate pits for three months at a time in order to aerate.

There are numerous ways the manure can be used in the garden. As well as being placed directly into the garden bed, it can be made into a “manure tea” for the plants.

The Hayshed sells the aged horse manure by the bag (pick up) or by the trailer or ute load (customers need to phone ahead for this option), as well as delivery, which can be arranged by the truck load (once again with a phone call).

The Hayshed, 7 Beltana Road, Pialligo, call Ivan on 0413 949900 or visit

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