Garden club returns to hear about Heather Welsh's verve for herbs

The Murray Bridge Garden and Floral Art Club has held its first meeting since early 2020.

This post was contributed by Peter Crowley of the Murray Bridge Garden and Floral Art Club.

After nearly 13 months, the Murray Bridge Garden and Floral Art Club has held its first meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Club patron and life member Phillip Christian said he was absolutely delighted to be able to attend for the first time in a year.

“I’ve really missed the interaction with other garden enthusiasts and hearing what’s been going on in each other’s gardens and yes, you named it, the ever-present wish for more rain here in Murray Bridge,” he said with a chuckle.

Betty Galbraith, a club member for some 15 years, said it was a godsend that the club was meeting once again.

“Having lost my dear husband, Don, last year, I have – like so many – felt isolated from friends and colleagues, and the opportunity to safely socialise once again is a true blessing,” she said.

“It is really good for one’s morale to be able to mix and chat with friends and also to hear stimulating addresses from experts on the cultivation and propagation of plants.

“Yes, it’s great to be back.”

April’s guest speaker was Heather Welsh, from Country Herbals, who presented a most informative talk on the cultivation and uses of herbs.

“As a member of the Herb Society of South Australia for some 30 years, it is great for me to share my passion for growing and using herbs,” she said.

“I have been living at Woodchester now for 14 years where my nursery, Country Herbals, is located.

“The area is in a rain shadow with an annual rainfall of 14 inches per annum.

“The temperate can rise to the high 40s in summer and as low as minus five in winter.

“Woodchester is predominantly sheep and cropping country, with bluestone and limestone rock in many areas with red loam soils.

“There is no mains water and I rely on rainwater storage for the nursery.

“Even though it can get quite cold, the climate still allows me to grow a number of tropical herbs under cover, while plants like capers thrive.

“I have the largest range of unusual herbs in SA, including culinary, medicinal, dye and scented plants and an ever-changing range of veggie seedlings, leafy greens and flowering annuals; there is always something to plant in any season, for pots or in the garden.”

Ms Welsh can be found at the Adelaide Hills Farmers’ Market on Mann Street, Mount Barker from 8.30am to 12.30pm; or at the nursery at Woodchester on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday or by appointment.

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