Recently, we caught up with Madeleine and Emily from the Avant Gardeners podcast, a podcast by two self-confessed gardening beginners interviewing gardening guns - all done with a drink in hand. These two are gardening tragics based down in the Huon Valley, Southern Tasmania. Their number #1 podcast is a must listen for any gardener.
How did you guys meet?
Our friendship really flourished when we were both on maternity leave, with young kids and time on our hands. We’d frequently meet up at a mutual friend’s house (Pip, from The Garden at Moorfield) because she had a much nicer garden than the two of us combined. We’d sit for hours, drinking coffee, enjoying cake, and often a glass of bubbly or aperol spritz. Conversations would naturally veer towards all things gardening. This is literally where our friendship grew.
How did the gardening podcast come about?
When Pip left Tasmania to move to country Victoria, we missed our regular catch ups and conversations. We also missed interrogating Pip for gardening tips. So, we thought we’d turn this into a podcast. The premise is that we’re enthusiastic gardeners but lack the real know-how. So, we interview those with heaps more knowledge, to try and get a few takeaways that we can apply to our own garden. It’s an entirely selfish proposition really, and our gardens are all the better for it. We’ve loved interviewing the likes of Kirsten Bradley (Milkwood Permaculture), Sadie Chrestman (Fat Pig Farm), Brenton Roberts, and of course Pip Steele-Wareham.
What got you both into gardening?
We both have fond memories of the feeling of being in gardens as a child. For Emily, it was her Oma’s beautiful garden in Canberra, with lots of natives and ornamental plants. It wasn’t until Emily and her family bought 30 acres in the Huon Valley that she picked up gardening more seriously.
For Maddie, it was seeing her mum create a flourishing veggie patch and fruit orchard from a bare paddock, and having corn-growing competitions with her neighbour. There’s nothing like a cob of corn straight from the plant. Maddie did a Milkwood Permaculture course in 2018, when she just had a small balcony, but 10 months later she moved to a property in Tasmania and was able to start putting all of that into practice.
We’re both garden tragics now.
What’s the plan for the summer school holidays
Lots of picnics in the orchard, dinners at the beach, camping with friends and family, and trying to find some time to get into the garden.
Too hard. Next question. :-)
What’s the biggest takeaway from the podcast?
I think it’s that gardeners are the loveliest people. I don’t think it’s possible to be gardening, or talking about gardening, and be in a bad mood. People are just so generous with their tips, and their stories, and sharing their failures. Gardening is such a human connector and a social leveller.
That, and, never ever turn the soil (Sadie Chrestman, Fat Pig Farm).
Plans for @avantgardeners.podcast?
When we sat down with a cocktail in hand to record episode one, I don’t think either of us really thought we’d ever get the podcast live, let alone be about to release Season 2. We’ve got some amazing guests lined up including Kate Flood (Compostable Kate), Jac Semmler (SuperBloom) and Stan Roberts (Fat Carrot Farm), as well as some other beauties we’re not yet at liberty to share.
Maddie - what’s your top 3 veggie and flowers to grow
It took me ages to finally get a Scabiosa Black Knight Pincushion flower to grow, and I just love it. The depth of colour, and the fine light flecks in there are really unique. I really enjoy the plant in the garden, but it’s also spectacular as a cut flower.
I love the rainbow carrots - and although I struggle to grow them with any consistency, it’s so satisfying when they finally grow and you get to pull these bright veggies from the ground - it’s like magic. Some might be straight and perfect, others look like intertwined bodies. The kids love it, and there’s nothing like the flavour of a home grown carrot.
I want fields and fields of echinacea - just looking at them makes me happy. They’re also medicinal - you can use the root and upper parts of the plant as a herbal remedy.
Em - what’s your top 3 veggies and flowers to grow?
When I first arrived in Tasmania I saw a vase of sea urchin hakea flowers on a friend’s kitchen table and vowed to have them in my garden one day. I now have three little ones planted here and am impatiently waiting for them to grow.
As a child we went on long car trips for camping holidays. I can still remember the awe I experienced driving past giant fields of cosmos. I would love to create a whimsical meadow in my garden filled with cosmos for my children to explore.
I will never stop marvelling at the simple magic of the humble potato. How one potato cut into several pieces can result in so many new ones! Harvesting them with the kids feels like digging for treasure.
Website: https://avant-gardeners.com/Listen on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Or search Avant Gardeners wherever you listen to podcasts.