Monday, 1 February 2010



Every day brings a new adventure, here in Hobart, Tasmania. On Saturday I went to the Salamanca market and I could not believe my eyes; this was probably the biggest market I have ever been to! Considering Hobart is a city of only 150,000 that is quite a feat. It is beautifully set between lawns on one side, the cafes and interesting shops of Salamanaca Place on the other and a backdrop of mountains. Erica and I arrived soon after 9am and wandered along, buying lots of excellent, local organic vegetables and breads.

The food stalls included a group of Asian growers with everything one could want for some Thai, Vietnamese or Chinese cooking. The breads were quite different from Adelaide artisan breads. In particular, the organic, sour dough rye loaf I bought has a deliciously soft and chewy crust instead of being as hard as Paolo's or The Rustica I often buy in the central market in Adelaide.

Most of the stalls are not selling food, but crafts, clothes and jewelry.

"Oh" I hear you say, "One of those tacky, glitzy, awful markets."

"No! Most definitely not!" I answer.

image People here are obviously very talented in their crafts because I could have bought enough beautiful, interesting, reasonably priced things to fill a house... which I may well need to do soon! There are a lot of beautiful woods in Tasmania and people do such creative and interesting things with them. The market was very busy and I was not able to get many clear shots of the stalls but I will go earlier next Saturday and take more time wandering and photographing.

I did, however, find a new Tasmanian seed company, Southern Harvest, based right here, on 5 acres on the edge of Hobart.They offer seed for kitchen, cottage and native gardens. I talked to Claire who owns the business with her husband. They have plans to produce more and more seed themselves but still are relying on some seed from the mainland to supplement their own. I asked Claire if she knew of a local seedsavers group and she said lots of people ask her that but as yet there doesn't seem to be one, although there is mention of one on the Seedsavers Network site but no action has occurred since 2008.


Erica and I had a lovely time talking with Helen Cushing and her daughter Pippa at one of the many cafes that line Salamanca Place. Helen writes for Tasmanian Life and had just returned from a visit to rosarian and octagenerian Susan Irvine and has written about her fabulous garden and life dedicated to Alister Clark roses. Helen also told us of a new bookshop which sells only books by Tasmanian authors and I think this deserves a visit soon.

All too soon it was time to leave as Erica had to get back and pack for her family's trip to Sydney, while I stay at her house and look after things there. Erica did not see the gleam in my eye when she mentioned on the way home that the jasmine is overgrowing the scarlet runner beans and needs pruning back. You see, Jasmine and I do not get on. I am passionate about plants; I love to sow their seeds, watch them come to life and be a part of their lives but ..... I draw the line at Jasmine and its disgusting aroma which makes me cough and sneeze. Touching the leaves makes my skin itch and tingle and its invasive habit is so obnoxious I cannot understand why people grow it on purpose!image

So, dressed for gardening, I stood at the gate waving goodbye to the family on Sunday, secateurs in my pocket at the ready! If I'd had my way, that Jasmine would have been cut off at the ground but I tried to be calm..... after all, this was not my garden! It tried to get the better of me by being securely attached to the beans but secateurs are a wonderful tool and those nasty strands were soon severed with glee. An hour later, after hacking and pulling and talking unkindly to it, I had it subdued..... and celebrated with a cup of coffee and a couple of the beans that had been overgrown by the jasmine.

The rest of Erica's vegetable garden has a beautiful view..... no wonder it all looks so happy!

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