DOWN TO EARTH:  The Thrifty Gardener  author and ABC  Gardening Australia  presenter, Millie Ross, pictured with rescue dog Squid.
DOWN TO EARTH: The Thrifty Gardener author and ABC Gardening Australia presenter, Millie Ross, pictured with rescue dog Squid.

Grow your knowledge at Winter Garden School

IT'S the garden school that keeps them coming back for more.

Leafmore Garden Society's biennial Winter Garden School on June 12-13 is celebrating its 10th event, and president Ed Power said currently two-thirds of bookings were return customers.

It's a good indication that organisers are doing things right.

Ed said having retired from work, he joined the society after attending his first school in 2013, impressed by the range of speakers, and the knowledge and friendliness of members.

He said that hadn't changed, with the garden school committee coming from a range of backgrounds, offering an array of skills, and everyone willing to "muck in and do whatever needs to be done to make it the best it can be".

About 150 people are expected to take part this year, the majority attending both days of the school.

In his second year as president, Ed said the society had received a lot of feedback about "what a fabulous program you've organised this year".

The keynote speaker is ABC Gardening Australia long-time researcher and now presenter, and author of The Thrifty Gardener, Millie Ross.

"She's very practical and down to earth, and that appeals to a lot of people," Ed said.

A professional horticulturalist, garden designer, writer, broadcaster, and passionate home gardener, Millie is best known for her unconventional approach to low-cost gardening, allowing people to create the best garden possible with "whatever you've got".

But Ed said he believed this year's line-up really had everything covered, from the ground up, starting with soil scientist Andrew Biggs, and continuing to Russell Young's extensive knowledge of all types of plants, propagation, pests and diseases and giving your garden the "wow" factor.

Shirley Dance brings specialist rose knowledge, Linda Brennan speaks on growing and cooking with edible plants, while Adam Woodhams talks photography and sustainability and Mike Wells gives water efficiency tips.

Started by grand champion garden owner Pearl Beh back in 1980, the society is named after her parents' property, Leafmore, and aims to foster a love of gardening and extend people's horticultural knowledge.

Members meet on the last Friday of each month at St Anthony's Parish Hall, Harristown.

They feature guest speakers, flower competitions, monthly garden visits and regular bus trips, as well as just a general love of gardening and shared experiences and knowledge to help tackle any gardening problems.

"We're very well-travelled. Wherever there's a garden tour, some of our members will have been on it," Ed said.

The Winter Garden School cost is $90 per day or $163 for the two days, including morning tea and lunch, and attendees can buy a range of plants, tools and other garden-related items at the trade stalls.

Bookings close May 31. Dinner with guest speaker Millie Ross cost $45. For Leafmore Garden Society, phone Ed on (07) 4632 5499 or email

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