The big secret to gardening is that there is no secret

HORTICULTURIST Claire Bickle said there is no secret to gardening.

For 23 years, she has worked in the horticulture industry and said the green thumb concept is a myth.

"It's really about understanding the basics of plants species and their care, taking the time and being persistent,” Ms Bickle said.

"Anyone can start to garden at any stage of their lives and be successful at it.”

Ms Bickle commentates on ABC radio gardening and chook talkback and runs Sustainability Workshops for various BCC libraries

She writes for Good Organic Gardening, Subtropical gardening magazine, Earth Garden Magazine, Backyard Farmer, Permaculture in the City and Chook Wisdom.

"I love all aspects of gardening but particularly edible and sustainable gardening practices, breeding poultry, writing, photography, cooking with my home grown produce are also just a few of my varied and eclectic interests,” she said.

.Her favourite plant is aloe.

"At the moment with continual dry, I'm loving my hybrid aloes from aloe-aloe. They flower from autumn to spring and come in a variety of sizes and colours.,” she said.

"And the bees and birds love them.”

What are her secrets to gardening?

"There are no secrets in gardening, its such a sharing of knowledge type of hobby,” she said. 

"But the key is to prepare soil well and seaweed is magic at keeping plants healthy and encouraging healthy soil life.”

The biggest mistake people make with gardening is underestimating the time it takes plants to establish, she said.

" They are motivated for a few weeks, buy plants , generally don't prepare the soil well enough and then only water for a week or two.

"Soil preparation is key, by adding loads of organic matter, improve drainage if need be, mulch well.” 

Ms Bickle garden s for her own well being.

"As therapy, it has been proven to be good for us - physically and mentally.

"For me personally and for millions of gardeners around the globe I think its connecting to nature - biophilia. This is our inherent need as human beings to connect to nature.”

Edible flowers she likes and uses to make shortbread are pineapple sage, roses, basil flowers, rosemary, chillies, pentas, clitoria blue pea, zinnia, dahlia, salvia, lavender, marigolds, sunflower petals and more.

Using edible flowers tyo make shortbread by Claire Bickle.
Using edible flowers to make shortbread by Claire Bickle.


Bonalbo Garden Club invites you to their Green Thumbs Day at Old Bonalbo Hall on Duck Creek Rd, Old Bonalbo on Tuesday, October 22 featuring guest speaker Claire Bickle talking about growing herbs and companion planting. Morning tea served form 11am. Two course country style lunch served. tickets $30. bookings essential by calling Amanda on 0438 478 983 or Liz on 0487 851 586.