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Sharing a neighbourly love of vegetables

Anne Norris… “In spring and autumn, I’m never anywhere else!”

ANNE Norris’ love of veggies is clear to see, with wicking beds taking over the lawn area in her pretty Spica Street, Giralang, garden that’s a delight of florals and foliage.

The garden will be open on the weekend of March 16-17 as part of Open Gardens Canberra, and included in the visit is a bonus look at Anne’s next-door neighbour Dana’s garden, which is also devoted to veggies.

Neighbours and friends for more than 30 years, Anne and Dana grow a variety of edibles and say their gardens have developed and changed a lot together over the years.

Anne’s garden. Photos: Holly Treadaway

ANNE, at No 14, has a love for natives, as well as bright happy flowers, herbaceous perennials, fruit trees and shrubs that fill the open beds around the lawn and veggie patch, and more natives in the front.

She grows brussels sprouts, red cabbage, spinach, silverbeet, gooseberries, strawberries, zucchinis, beetroot, eggplant and black Genoa figs.

“I eat loads of veggies and fruit from the trees here, and find using wicking beds for the veggies very helpful for ease of watering – you can go away and leave them to it.

“I have two apple crates for my veggies. They’re great and the height of the beds saves my back as I don’t have to keep bending down!”

Anne loves ornamentals and a lot of colour, and says her leonitis is her pride and joy, with dahlias, grevilleas, gaillardias, echinaceas, gardenias and johnsonias all growing prolifically.

“I’m out here most days keeping an eye on things,” she says.

“In spring and autumn, I’m never anywhere else!”

Dana’s garden. Photos: Holly Treadaway

DANA, at No 16, says growing her own veggies is about health for her and everything in her garden is organic as she never sprays chemicals yet doesn’t have issues with pests or diseases. There’s enough to feed her year round, she says, favourites being Desiree potatoes and red cabbage for making sauerkraut.

The veggie patches at Dana’s are neat and well-ordered to maximise sunlight, with black musket and shiraz grape vines framing the home. There are at least 25 different vegetables, including capsicum, tomatoes, eggplant, kale, figs, blood orange, Kalamata olives, peaches, nectarines, pomegranate, herbs and broccoli, largely grown from saving seeds.

14 and 16 Spica Street, Giralang, open 10am-4pm, Saturday, March 16, and Sunday, March 17. Admission $8 for both gardens; free to under-18s and Open Gardens Canberra members. Plants will be for sale and funds raised will go to Animals Asia. It costs $25 to join Open Gardens Canberra and gain free entry to all open gardens until August 31. More information at opengardenscanberra.org.au/members

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Kathryn Vukovljak

Kathryn Vukovljak

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