I guess the serious interest in bush tucker started when we did the site analysis and design at Dreamland. At that stage we already had some Midyim Berries battling out an existence along our dry driveway, some Bottle Brushes fighting the school’s Eucalyptus trees for water at the back of the property and there was a big Kangaroo Apple at Dreamland already, but we didn’t even know these “qualified” as bush tucker plants.
Otway Indigenous Nursery
We did the trip to visit Nick Day at Otway Indigenous Nursery, primarily to get local hardy screening plants for the zone between Dreamland’s “secret garden” and the school behind us. From that trip, we brought back two types of She-oaks, Hop Goodenia, Prickly Currant Bush and Running Postman – a fine little Nitrogen producing groundcover which I just love for some or other reason.
Opportunistic odds and ends
Over the following months we acquired the odd bush tucker plant here and there, like Lilly Pillies, Blueberry Ashes and Portugal Laurels from Wombat Gully.
When we did the trip to Pete the Permie’s Telopia Mountain Nursery in Monbulk to get the bulk of Dreamland’s bare root fruit trees, we also brought back two Macadamia Nut trees, two Native Plums and some Finger Limes.
I have also discovered some of the Bush Tucker range at Bunnings in Torquay, bought about two plants, but then unfortunately they discontinued the range…
Now, what does a high tea have to do with bush tucker? Well Patricia attended a friend’s birthday high tea at Uforic Café (who by the way make really good coffee and serve up delightfully yummy snacks freshly made on premise) right next to Beach Tree Nursery on the Torquay road. She came back with a nice little sample of what the nursery had of the Bush Tucker range – Redback Australian Ginger, Native Gardenia, a Large Leaved Tamarind and a few more.
This prompted me to stop at the nursery on the way back from a surf one day, with the excuse of getting a good coffee, and I ended up buying a good part of the bush tucker stock that was available. We ended up in a discussion about a male Tasmanian Pepper (coincidentally I tasted Tasmanian Pepper during my recent PDC course in Tasmania), which ended up with Jane from Beach Tree Nursery sending me a list of all the bush tuckers they could order. A massive order (in our terms anyway) followed, and we ended up with Muntries, Mydyims, Native Guavas, various native Plums, Blue Tongues, Salt Bushes, Myrtles and too many more to list here (they’re all listed on our inventory page.)
Many of these were planted along “Native walk” at Dreamland (which will later get a better name I hope), “Bush tucker alley” at Homeland, or in the “Corner” at Homeland. Others are just scattered around where it made good sense to incorporate them or in little microclimates that would protect them.
Enter the mailman
Well, that’s not the end… I was looking for a supplier of Tagasaste seedlings (more about that in a subsequent post), when I discovered Plant Inspirations online, who not only supply Tagasaste, but also a wide range of native plants – and a large order (in our terms again) was placed for various Tea Trees, including 6 Manuka Tea Trees for their medicinal value.
From Eden Seeds we also ordered Purslane seeds, which have been used to line the bottom terraces next to the “Native walk”. This was quite funny – I ordered the Purslane seeds and Patricia ordered a big bunch of vegetable seeds, two days apart, without knowing of each other’s orders. Fortunately, Eden Seeds saw the same delivery addresses, combined the two orders and saved us the postage on the one order. Now that’s what I call sharp efficient service!
I thought it useful to start making a list of which bush trucker plants we have, where they grow, what they’re called, what they can be used for and where we obtained them. This can be found on our Bush Tucker Inventory page, where they are listed alphabetically by English name (which I know is not very scientific).
Some of these are planted at Dreamland, some are located at Homeland. We didn’t design specific “bush tucker” areas, we just integrated them into our various areas, wherever we had good suitable microclimates for their characteristics.
It is obvious from the photos that it is early days for many of our bush tucker plants. We will see who survives the deadly winter frost and then the harsh dry summer the next year. It seems that most of our plants, once they have survived one of each of these seasons, they settle in for the long run. Good luck bush tuckers, may you all survive and be fruitful!