Wednesday, 28 October 2009

My island herbs

Its always such a treat to visit a passionate gardener.
The herb garden at Sunnybrae has suffered over the last few years and while many of the standard stock has survived we have lost a lot of special plants collected from friends and visitors. Judi and Ken Forrester’s Otway Herbs just outside Apollo Bay is an inspiration. Hidden away in the hills overlooking Bass straight Judi has over many years created a magnificent collection of unusual forms of many herbs that just do not appear in standard nurseries. She travels the world and Australia collecting unusual heritage plants that form the basis of her beautiful biodynamic nursery. Thymes from the Aeolian islands, unusual mints, pungent savouries collected from neighbours and other collectors vie for space amongst unusual berries, succulents and mints. The most unexpected find on this visit was a native celery collected from the Kent group of islands in Bass Straight. 

 My mates regularly holiday on Erith island in this magnificent part of the world and I have fond memories of a visit there in the late seventies.
 It was a short visit I was cooking at the Grace Darling Hotel at the time and snuck down for a couple of days leaving a young cook Giles who had just arrived from France to hold the fort while I was away. We organised for him to come down on the boat that was to bring me back but as it happens the weather closed in and the boat was unable to leave. So here I was on Erith and Gigi in Port Albert waiting for the boat! No cook in the kitchen. As it happened a helicopter arrived with a cinematographer who was shooting a documentary and they landed on Erith. After a little local hospitality was offered they kindly took me back to Melbourne but not before skimming the beaches of the coast with the doors of the chopper removed. An hour and a half later, and wearing just a T shirt and shorts I was dropped off on the Yarra ready to do service that night.
I went back the following year and on that occasion we sailed back overnight with a full moon on calm seas via Tasmania.
The new celery will have prime spot in the garden.


Thermomixer said...

Sounds like Ben S may need to pay them a visit - both Otway Herbs and the Kent group. I certainly need to go to the Otways.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
stephen said...

Just fabulous.
I can smell them here in Tassie!!!

srizahra said...

a good place, there are many plants that can be made into medicine