Autumn gardening at Bello

BUSH tucker is the theme for the 28th Bellingen Plant Fair.

Steady rain during the past week after a hot summer has provided sweet relief for both growers and gardeners and there will be plenty of locals circling their diary for the March 11 fair.

There will be an opportunity to learn about the native foods growing all around us and to taste delicious bush tucker dishes as well as get some practical tips of how to incorporate these into your everyday cooking.

Now is the time for a garden revamp, so condition your soil with your favourite manures and composts and sow all those cool-season vegetables that don't stand a chance over the heat of summer.

Native plants attract wildlife to your garden, including many smaller bird species such as honeyeaters, thornbills and wrens. They in turn help to control insect pests in your garden and around the home.

Re-thinking your garden plan can also save on cooling and heating bills. Planting suitable evergreen or deciduous trees on the western side of your house will protect your home from afternoon summer heat, however it's important to check that your neighbour's solar access is not affected. Deciduous trees let in the sun's warmth during our short winters.

Don't worry if space is limited. The Bellingen Autumn Plant Fair has plenty of gardening options for locals with balcony or courtyard gardens. Plants in pots or a trellis or espalier fruit trees against a wall can provide an attractive screen, as well as food. Dwarf fruit trees, blueberries and salad vegetables grow well in pots and occupy only a small space in the yard.

The 28th Autumn Plant Fair is on March 11 from 8am to 2pm at the Bellingen Market Park. It will showcase more than 70 plant nursery and equipment stalls, information stalls from local organisations, workshops and activities, loads of bargains and plenty of expert horticultural advice.

Sub-tropical to temperate, native and food-bearing trees, shrubs, orchids, roses, bromeliads, cacti, herbs, native tube-stock, flower and vegetable seedlings, garden furniture, equipment and supplies are all part of the Plant Fair.

Fine food, musicians, lots of activities, entry by gold coin donation, and the chance to win a barrow full of plants donated by the stallholders make this a great day out for garden lovers.

The Autumn Plant Fair is a fundraiser for the Bellingen Environment Centre.

Inquiries 0475 743 851 or bellingenplantfair@

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