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Turn­ing to gar­den­ing in times of drought may seem coun­ter­in­tu­itive. But, as those liv­ing on the land will at­test, when dry­ness in the pad­docks in­creases, so too does the yearn­ing for a small refuge. In 2019, Claire Austin was cling­ing onto her patch of green in Gin Gin, near Trangie, dur­ing one of the worst droughts on record. Seek­ing tips on drought-hardy plant­ings from neigh­bours and swap­ping wa­ter-sav­ing hacks at her lo­cal moth­ers’ group, Claire soon re­alised she wasn’t alone in her quest.

And so, Gin Gin Gar­den Club was born. “It was clear that oth­ers would ben­e­fit from what I was learn­ing, so I be­gan doc­u­ment­ing my jour­ney and pro­fil­ing gar­dens through In­sta­gram – it’s a new-age gar­den club!” says Claire. Each month, she shares her ‘to-do’ list, out­lin­ing jobs to at­tempt in her gar­den. Oth­ers add what they’ll be up to, creat­ing a con­ver­sa­tion. The Club has evolved to in­clude a won­der­ful on­line store, in which Claire cu­rates her favourite out­door tools and ac­ces­sories. She stocks good-qual­ity gar­den gear, pic­nicware, log car­ri­ers and tool rolls – items she uses nearly ev­ery day. And as it turns out, peo­ple all over are look­ing to the gar­den in tough times. Claire notes that sales of seed pack­ets in­creased by 200 per cent in April, some­thing she at­tributes to lock­down. She adds: “Com­post bins have also been pop­u­lar… maybe be­cause of all the scraps from the home­grown ve­g­ies!” Join @gingin­gar­den­club on In­sta­gram or Face­book, and shop via the web­site. Among tools fit for lovely pot­ting sheds, keep an eye out for cooler bags by Busi­ness & Plea­sure Co. Made from left­over beach um­brella can­vas, they’re a must for a spring full of work (or play!). gingin­gar­den­club.com

CLOCK­WISE, FROM TOP LEFT Fred Liv­ing in Aldgate, SA, offers home­wares, uten­sils and quirky gift ideas; Milli & Robe in Dalby, Qld, stocks both clas­sic and con­tem­po­rary fash­ion, plus eye-catch­ing ac­ces­sories, home­wares and gifts; chair and lamp from Milli & Robe.

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