Grain in hands

Healthy Feasting in the Garden

1 May - By Robyn Sharpe

The Healthy Garden, located in the heart of Adelaide Botanic Garden, is a treat for all food growing enthusiasts, and the Feasting in the Garden tour curated for Tasting Australia presents it in an especially appealing way.

Volunteer tour guides Sue Giilchrist, Libby Clapp and Jenny Boorman took turns on Monday identifying plants throughout the garden, from herbs to fruit trees, salad greens and root vegetables, sunflowers and brassicas, while handing out edible samples. 

Tour participants tried fresh bread dipped in sunflower oil with Jenny’s homemade dukkah, pistachio nuts, Libby’s beetroot dip, red onion marmalade, pear juice and cumquat chutney.

The guides’ lively and informative overviews of plant species kept participants engaged and entertained while casually meandering through the stylised garden. Their information explained plants’ country of origin, different culinary uses, some recipes and humorous historical anecdotes.

Designed and tended by head gardener Pip Robinson, the very healthy and luscious garden presents beautifully, having a mix of companion planting and artistic placement, combining colours, heights and textures. 

No chemicals or insecticides are used in the garden and the plants are thriving, although the odd net strung across some beds raised some questions. 

“They’re to keep the ducks off, as they love to come in and eat those plants,” explained Sue with a chuckle. 

“They just ravage them and then there’s nothing left for the restaurant,” noting that the Adelaide Botanic Garden Restaurant sources some of its ingredients from these gardens. More of the garden’s produce is donated to local charities.

This section of the garden’s informal name is The Little Sprout Garden because its primary purpose is for children to be educated, and to delight them by showing that growing food is fun. 

“The garden is always full of children having fun,” said Jenny. “They come here to learn about the plants, and learn how to make food with them.” 

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