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Published August 24th 2014
You're sure to dig this giant vege patch
Let's dig in. Image courtesy South Bank's Epicurious Garden.
Call me a glutton, but I think the only plants worth growing are edible ones. Sure, ornamental blooms are beautiful, but I'd much rather pick a bunch of strawberries (or snow peas, or rocket leaves) than a bouquet of roses or tulips.
Which, I imagine, is pretty much the same philosophy which recently inspired members of South Bank's landscaping team to tear up their formal gardens and replace them with a giant vegetable patch, to be henceforth known as the Epicurious Garden.
Spread over 1500 square metres in the heart of the South Bank Parklands near River Quay, the Epicurious Garden comprises 30 beds (plus many pots as well). Blue java banana, custard apple, lemon, mango, orange, pineapple, rosella, Tahitian lime and taro are among the many productive species planted here. Basil, kale, purple mustard, ginger and coffee also feature. And for those who firmly believe a real garden contains flowers, there are edible varieties such as pansies and nasturtiums too.
Taro dip. Image courtesy South Bank's Epicurious Garden.
Named in a nod to Brisbane's growing 'epicure' culture (defined by Lord Mayor Graham Quirk as people in pursuit of fine food, drink and adventure), the Epicurious Garden boasts interpretive signage along with links to recipes.
It's part of Brisbane City Council's broader plan to inspire people of all ages to become home gardeners. Related initiatives include library workshops on a range of topics such as keeping chickens, propagating plants and heirloom seed saving. Cooking workshops and others highlighting permaculture garden principles also feature.
This is no hands-off garden either. Fresh seasonal produce will be harvested regularly, with free samples available for tasting. Visitors will also have the opportunity to learn how to cook with ingredients that may be unfamiliar, like tamarind, or cha-plu. The space will be maintained by a team of dedicated staff and volunteers who have a high standard of horticultural knowledge.
Miang kam with cha-plu. Image courtesy South Bank's Epicurious Garden.