Most Bellingen Shire residents would acknowledge that the success of their native gardens can be attributed in some way to the hard work and extraordinary knowledge Colin Broadfoot of Boggy Creek Natives. Colin has been spinning his green magic at Boggy Creek Natives now for 34 years. What better person to interview as we gear up for the Bellingen Spring Plant Fair held this Saturday 8th September at Market Park in Bellingen.
Colin, have you always had a green thumb?
My dad knew lots about gardening and wildflowers, so I guess that rubbed off on me in my teenage years- a long time ago.
Can you tell us some of the benefits of planting natives?
We have such a diverse flora and there’s generally a native plant for any position and any purpose. More importantly, local natives are an integral part of local ecosystems. So wildlife, particularly birds can be attracted to home gardens.
Generally natives pose little threat to bush invasion, unlike many exotic species. And we identify with native plants, they are familiar and relate to local bushland.
What’s your best gardening secret?
Not telling. But if you turn up to the Spring Plant Fair on Saturday I will reveal all!!
With the change in climate, should we alter our garden plans? Are there some natives that will withstand the long periods of dry better?
Gardens are really about enjoyment of…the outside, interaction with wildlife, pleasure of producing food, the thrill of seeing the first blossom. So it’s important that this continues, even though climate change will throw us big challenges.
Yes, we may have long periods of dry but that doesn’t mean we should seek to grow plants from areas of low rainfall and low humidity. Much better to choose plants from our climatic zone, paying attention to preferred soil conditions and site exposure. Most will work, some won’t.
Having said this, I wouldn’t want to discourage anyone from experimenting with plants from outside our climate zone. You may need to modify the planting conditions eg planting on mounds or in large pots, to have success.
Sounds like you just revealed some of those secrets!
As a local grower and provider of Australian native plants, can you describe the Bellingen Plant Fair for everyone?
The PF as we know it today emerged from the Bellingen and Plateau Conservation Society’s annual tree distribution. Now run by the Bello Environment Centre, the PF happens twice yearly, in Autumn and Spring. It boasts over 70 nurseries and garden related businesses and presents a pretty incredible variety of plants for sale; natives, exotics, fruit trees, vege seedlings etc.
My advice for Saturday’s Spring Plant Fair is to come early and remember to bring containers as the Fair is single use plastic bag free.
Your best memory of childhood was?
Family picnics on the Murrumbidgee river in the days when the water was crystal clear and the fish abundant.
Your best sporting moment was?
Discovering mountain biking in my 60’s..
What would you like to be remembered for?
What are you listening to right now?
What really annoys you?
Filling out forms…conservative politics….inaction on climate change…..conspiracy theories.
The best lesson your parents taught you?
Don’t play with matches.
The last big belly laugh you had was?
Watching Python movies?
What project are you currently working on?
How do you relax?
Pottering in my nursery and garden, kayaking, fishing, reading etc
Favourite restaurant in the Shire?
Undiplomatic of me to say…but we are blessed.
Favourite holiday destination & why?
Arakoon/Trial Bay….for the wildflowers, walks and whales.