November 2022 View Online

Dear Fellow Gardener

Welcome to the November 2022 newsletter from Sophie's Patch in the Adelaide Hills, SA. Each month I share what has been happening in and around my patch of garden in the Adelaide Hills, as well as some of my adventures further afield.  I hope you enjoy reading it. Sophie Thomson.

As we race towards the end of the year, I can’t work out where the past 10+ months have gone, let alone the past 30 days!? 

Around the patch plants continue to grow and bloom, and everything is so lush in its spring flush. Usually by now the paddocks around us have browned off but this year the grass is still green and growing.
The vegie patch continues to produce an abundance which we eat for ourselves or share with our friends. The garden is also full of flowers delighting the birds, bees, butterflies, and me. Seeing and smelling these blooms feeds my soul and being able to pick bunches to bring inside or give away is wonderful. 

In this Newsletter

Spring Open Garden Wrap Up

Well… South Australia together with other parts of Australia has been subjected to unusual violent weather.  I can only think how fortunate we were with our Open Garden weekend a couple of weeks ago.  The weather gods did shine on us and the multitude of visitors…first timers and the regulars experienced 3 days of fun in the sun!  I love the chance to get up close and personal with gardeners and all involved were so happy to not have the covid restrictions with us.  The garden did indeed look glorious, much to my surprise, with the previous weather patterns which included a day with five lots of hail and torrential rain just four days before the open garden.
The Beekeepers’ Society of SA and Butterfly Conservation SA got everyone buzzing with excitement about creating bee and butterfly friendly gardens, the nurseries sold up a storm (not literally!), kids explored and participated in their special nature craft and bug education activities, and the organisations involved in raising money for their causes were very happy indeed.
So a huge shout out to my family, volunteers, nurseries, activity organisers and voluntary organisations……you are the reasons why I continue to love opening my garden to share with gardeners for 3 days twice a year.  I love that people take away design ideas, learn about new plants and realise that it’s about experimenting with a work in progress ….. and perfection does not come guaranteed in the gardening world.  It’s also about health, wellbeing and the importance of community!
Check out the photos at

Out and About

I have done lots of talk on many different topics over the past month, from gardening for health and wellbeing, to native bees, spring gardening and growing vegies. There was also the launch of the ‘Lady of the House’ rose at Carrick Hill.
carrick hill roses

Conservation SA - It's Time To Protect Our Trees

On the 24th October I MCed an event for Conservation SA called ‘Its Time To Protect Our Trees’. This was in response to huge community concern as Adelaide continues to lose it’s magnificent old trees at an alarming rate. This event was well attended with over 300 people there passionate about the need to put in place ‘Australian best practice’ for tree protections in South Australia. The crowd was passionate and feisty about what is a very important and emotive issue. While the night did not necessarily have a concrete outcome, it highlighted the fact that we need to keep fighting for planning rules to change. The night was recorded, with a number of speakers, however I wanted to share one particular presentation by Dr Stefan Caddy-Retalic, an Adjunct Lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Adelaide. 

Highly Recommended

It runs for 25 minutes and is worth watching for everyone as it explains what National ‘Best Practice’ tree protection looks like.  Grab a cuppa and give yourself permission to watch this one!

Community Housing Judging and Garden Awards

Earlier this month I had the privilege of helping judge the Community Housing Limited’s Garden Competition with categories including the Most Inspiring Gardener, Best Front Garden, Best Rear Garden, Best Vegetable Garden, and Best ‘Before and After’. The gardens were a diverse mix of styles, as unique and individual as the gardeners that created them, however what particularly impressed me is the thoughtful, creative, innovative and resourceful way these gardens have been established. I came away with several ideas that I plan to share with others, including the use of buried plant pots as garden edging. 
Having garden competitions for those renting or in affordable or community housing is just as relevant and important as having garden competitions for those who own their own homes. The gardeners we visited when judging had created their own sanctuaries, which we all need after the challenges of the past few years. The way the gardens were cared for reflected a sense of accomplishment and pride in the occupants’ surroundings. 
Here are a few photos from the judging and the awards ceremony. 

City of Charles Sturt Garden Competition

On Tuesday I had the honour of being part of the City of Charles Sturt’s Garden Competition. I love being part of this event which is now in its 10th year and received over 50 entries in categories ranging from small garden and food garden to community garden and verge garden. They also have awards for ‘Great Garden Citizen’ and ‘Habitat Hero’. 
As it happens, I have filmed with both of these two winners in the past 6 months. Brooklyn Mabbot, awarded ‘Great Garden Citizen’, is an inspirational young food gardener, who has created food security for her share house and her local area by turning her backyard rental into a thriving vegie garden, and created a community garden in a nearby park. You can see the recent Gardening Australia segment about her at
‘Habitat Hero’ was awarded to Kerry James who took her garden beyond the fence, past the verge, and out into her community. Together with members of her local community, they have started to garden along the railway lines to create a wildlife corridor in under-utilised public space as part of Woodville Greening. Here are a few photos from the day we filmed in her garden. 

Gardening Australia 

I even had a quick trip to Melbourne last week where I caught up with some of my fellow gardening Australia presenters which was lots of fun.

Coming Up 

POP UP Shop at Sophie’s Patch

Want to purchase our unique metal garden art as Christmas presents? We will be having a POP-Up Shop here at Sophie’s Patch on Saturday 3rd December from 10 am till noon. We will have limited quantities of our orange butterflies, geese, and ladybirds. As we have very limited quantities, it will be first come best dressed and and personal shoppers only.
We will also have signed copies of ‘Sophie’s Patch’ books available for purchase for Christmas gift giving. If you want a copy of ‘Sophie’s Patch’ signed and personalised for the recipient, order the books online via and mark it for pickup rather than post and we will have it ready for you. 
We will also have some of Rose’s New Guinea bean seedlings and seeds available. I will also have poinsettias available for sale, as nothing else brings as much Christmas cheer. I love to have them in my home and also give them as gifts. 

Talkback Gardening every Sunday on ABC Adelaide

Stay tuned to my social media for other events closer to the time, and don’t forget that you can listen to talk back gardening on Radio 891 with the one and only Peter Goers on Sunday mornings after the 11am news.  We have lots of laughs and manage to answer some gardening questions too.

Summer Pruning and Caring for Fruit Trees Workshops Feb 2023

Buy Tickets Now
Back by popular demand, we are running these workshops at Sophie’s Patch on Friday 3rd and Sunday 5th February, 9.30am - 12.30pm.

While most people think that winter is the time to prune fruit trees, it is the best time to shape trees but pruning then tends to stimulate vigour, making your trees bigger and harder to manage. The key to keeping your trees down at a manageable height is summer pruning and we will also look at how to maintain mature fruit trees, cleaning up and pruning, to shape trees, minimise disease and maximise fruit production. Summer is also the time to shape young deciduous fruit trees. Orchard and soil health, fertilising and watering will be covered. 
To share their breadth of knowledge we have passionate fruit tree grower and member of the Rare Fruit Society Chris Day ( Every Day Sustainable Living ), and sixth generation orchardist Wez Redden who has been helping me with fruit tree pruning for more than 20 years in my orchard here at Sophie’s Patch and at other properties. 
The workshop will be held inside the shed and out in the orchard at Sophie’s Patch and includes delicious morning tea with home baked fruit themed slices and cakes made with Sophie’s Patch orchard produce. Numbers are strictly limited and bookings essential. 

Newsletter Prize

Each month, one lucky newsletter subscriber is selected at random and gets a prize. These range from books, tickets to our open gardens or special events or garden art. This month it will be a signed copy of Sophie’s Patch, the book.  
Happy gardening!



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