GAR­DEN­ING

Mercury (Hobart) - Magazine - - Upfront -

I f the sight of flow­ers and plants en masse doesn’t lure you to Al­bert Hall in Launce­s­ton next week­end, chances are the aroma of siz­zling sausages and good cof­fee will.

Both gar­den­ers and blooms are set to fill his­toric Al­bert Hall as the sec­ond Blooming Tas­ma­nia Flower & Gar­den Fes­ti­val opens its doors next Satur­day and Sun­day, bring­ing to­gether spe­cial­ist nurs­eries, sup­pli­ers and gar­den groups with speak­ers and flo­ral artists.

Launched last year, or­gan­is­ers are hop­ing the Launce­s­ton-based fes­ti­val be­comes a fix­ture on the Tas­ma­nian spring gar­den­ing cal­en­dar. The team have upped the food stakes, but it’s not all cap­puc­ci­nos and cakes. Step in­side to find a good se­lec­tion of her­itage to­ma­toes ready to grow in your gar­den. The tomato seedlings have been grown by the Royal Tas­ma­nian Botan­i­cal Gar­dens and in­clude va­ri­eties se­lected for their suit­abil­ity to Tas­ma­nian con­di­tions.

I fell for th­ese her­itage to­ma­toes last year. I bought up big and had ex­cel­lent crops, es­pe­cially from Stupice and Black Krim, both cold-tol­er­ant her­itage va­ri­eties. This year, I have my eye on Jaune Flamme, which is a tasty orange va­ri­ety, and Le­gend, a de­li­cious red tomato that a friend swears by.

Other to­ma­toes on the RTBG’s stand are the large red Money Maker va­ri­ety, along with the smaller fruit­ing Tommy Toe, Principe Borgh­ese, Yel­low Pear, Green Ze­bra and Black Cherry. With so many op­tions, it might be time to ex­tend the tomato patch or set up some large pots.

New to this year’s event is a Q&A stand where gar­den­ers can have mys­tery plants iden­ti­fied and learn how to com­bat bugs and solve other gar­den prob­lems. If you have ques­tions about grow­ing to­ma­toes or any­thing plant-re­lated, jot them down and bring them along.

KOKEDAMA HAS A BALL

There are new ex­hibitors ven­tur­ing into Al­bert Hall. A kokedama dis­play by Kara Lewis from Home­spun Suc­cu­lents is sure to in­spire you to look at suc­cu­lents and in­door plants with a de­signer’s eye.

Kokedama are hang­ing or stand­ing plants dis­played with their root sys­tems bound at­trac­tively in string, and Lewis spe­cialises in cre­at­ing sim­ple but de­light­ful liv­ing sculp­tures fol­low­ing the Ja­panese method.

“I have 150-plus plants that I am sell­ing at the fes­ti­val,” she says.

Lewis, who also has a range of coast­ers and lo­cally made shelv­ing de­signed to help dis­play koke­doma in­doors, has been sell­ing her cre­ations for just two years.

It be­gan as a hobby with a stall sell­ing 10 to 20 plants at the Evan­dale Mar­kets but has be­come a full-time busi­ness with 10 out­lets across Tas­ma­nia. She has also just launched her range in Mel­bourne.

As well as mod­ern kokedamas and old­fash­ioned to­ma­toes, lo­cal nurs­eries will be sell­ing a range of spe­cial­ist peren­ni­als, clema­tis, bulbs and na­tive plants.

BOTAN­I­CAL ARTIST AT WORK

The botan­i­cal artists have been a hit on the Blooming Tas­ma­nia Flower & Gar­den Fes­ti­val Face­book page and are sure to at­tract a crowd at the show. Ten Tas­ma­nian botan­i­cal artists are dis­play­ing their tal­ents at the fes­ti­val with works in wa­ter­colour, oil and acrylic.

One brave artist, Robert Gower from Bar­ring­ton, will be dis­play­ing his graphite work and also be draw­ing at the show. He has been study­ing botan­i­cal art for a lit­tle over a year and is keen to demon­strate tech­niques he has mas­tered.

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