Bellingen Spring Plant Fair grows bigger each year
THE more than 70 stalls expected at this year's Bellingen Spring Plant Fair are a far cry from the two or three nurseries that took part in the initial event back in 1990 according to local nurseryman Colin Broadfoot.
The fair is held at the Bellingen Market Park at the corner Ford and Park Streets every September (in this case 8 September) and now attracts horticulturalists selling a huge diversity of tropical, sub-tropical, native. exotic and food-bearing species as well as garden furniture, equipment, supplies and information stalls from local oranisations. There are also plant identification workshops, activities, fine food and musicians at the free event held as a fundraiser for the Bellingen Environment Centre.
The unassuming Colin, who runs Boggy Creek Natives, has taken part in every spring (and autumn) plant fair since that original event.
"It was basically just a couple of nurseries - it was really small," he said of the inaugural event.
"These days we get a lot of specialist nurseries - people who specialise in things like bromeliads and bonsais - plants that would not see everywhere. It is a really good range."
For Colin plants are his life particularly natives and he is still actively involved in helping spread their use.
It is something he has done all his life and although he is past the age of retirement now, he doesn't see himself putting his feet up anytime soon.
"I have no concept of retirement," he laughed.
"It's one of those things I'll probably just decompose on the job. I started to get into native plants through my dad who was an agriculture and botany teacher on the Central Coast."
Moving to Tasmania, he joined the Australian Plant Society in the 70 and ended up getting involved in propagating plant and setting up a small nursery.
He moved to the mainland and set up a nursery down south before eventually moving up to Bellingen where he has become a fixture in the region with interest and involvement in land care.