Saturday, 15 March 2008


It was a beautiful, relatively cool morning to head off to the Carpark Caper and I got there soon after the gates opened at 8am. First thing I realised was that I had forgotten the camera. "Good" I thought "I can get on with the serious side of this expedition without having to document the whole thing!" But I did remember to take my market trolley in all its newly upholstered glory (Christmas present from Roger - he is a wonder at craft and design!)

I always fall in love at the carpark caper and today was no exception. My mother was always afraid I would be attracted to the 'wrong' sort of man but she should have been more worried about me falling for the wrong sort of plants! Although, in general, a girl only has one man at a time, she can have hundreds or even thousands of plants. Food plants are my passion but a person is allowed to have sub-passions and one of mine is ....cane-stemmed and tuberous begonias; lush, soft, luxuriant, dainty, breath-takingly beautiful and totally impractical but irresistible. The moment another lady came along and reached for the begonia I was considering buying, I knew I had to have it! Luckily there were 2 so we shared sweetly; I got the one I wanted and she got the second one! You would have thought we were at a bargain basement sale at Harris Scarfe's!

So, happy with the result of my love affair, I moved on to the next stalls. I must say that I thought it was especially good today because all the junk-selling people didn't bother to come out in the heat. It was a setting full of hard-core garden-ers who had spent months propagating these plants and they were going to turn up and sell them come hell or high water and garden-ees, like me who never miss the autumn carpark caper where good deals are to be had and rare things found. No nurseries masquerading as small-scale growers, no doilies or other second-rate crafts, no biscuits or other value-added products, just plants. Oh, except for the tiny, ancient man who sells his jams at a card table while his large and vocal wife takes up the rest of the space with her plants. I bought some quince jelly from him even though I have loads in the cupboard.

Of course they broadcast the ABC radio 891 gardening show in a marquee from there while the event is on and it is nice to see them each year and wonder if I look as much older than I remember them looking in past years. We are lucky to have such a good public radio and TV network as the ABC and I rarely listen to or watch anything else.
With my trolley and my extra bag full I walked back to the car. It is the only time in my life when I go anywhere near a MacDonald's. It is a perfect spot to park, almost next to the ABC building. If anyone came and told me it was a private carpark and only for MacDonalds' customers I would bring out my most cutting line "Tell someone who cares!" I am dying to say that to someone from MacDonald's one day but they don't seem to care if I don't like them and, to their credit, don't put up 'customers only' signs or in any way discourage the use of their land by the likes of me.

This lovely morning was the kind of local, low key, real gardeners' gathering that I love and is so precious. I hope you other Adelaideans went and felt as good at the end of it as I do!

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