Tanya’s whimsical potager garden
a place to ponder
Over 12 short months Tanya Olsen has created a garden that engages the senses through colour, form, foliage and fragrance as well as whimsical items that bring interest, fun and function.
Stepping stones lead you throughout the free form, mystical garden, with little hidden treasures and upcycled decor scattered among the plants.
“I didn’t want a constrained, structured monoculture style garden,” Tanya said.
“I craved a productive space full of colour, interest and energy, a space that honoured Mother Earth.”
When Tanya moved in, she said the property was home to a mango tree, passionfruit vine and a massive old tree stump that had remained central in the garden.
“The massive old tree stump would have been a beautiful, majestic tree at some point, so I decided to keep it, I feel it’s earned its place in the garden,” she said.
“I learned from an early age that getting your hands into the earth, exploring the garden and appreciating the new gifts within it each day is food for the soul.”
Tanya said the potager – or kitchen style - garden remains functional year-round, evolving as the seasons come and go.
“I have put in a wide variety of plants including herbs (medicinal, ceremonial, and culinary), indigenous plants including wallaby nut and emu foot, unusual fruit trees such as pitomba, star gooseberry, blue star apple and water plants including delicious water chestnuts,” Tanya said.
“There’s lots of flowers, many of which are edible or used for tea, tinctures and natural food colouring or dyes.”
The garden features various quirky plants, but the green thumb said she had loved sharing classic fresh produce with others.
“Although my garden is still in relative infancy, I have enjoyed and shared the fresh produce, including tomatoes, eggplants, capsicums, beans and lots more,” Tanya said.
“I have also been able to share it preserved as relish, sauce, jam and chutney.”
Tanya said she loves connecting with nature, along with her friends who enjoy relaxing among the birds, bees and trees in the garden.
“There’s lots of different butterflies, blue banded bees, native bees, and European bees foraging in the garden, so I know I am on the right track,” she said.
“I am never in the garden without the sound and presence of birds.”
Last week's garden: Gooburrum gives life to colourful foliage garden