by Stephanie Spencer
IT’S mid-week. You have a busy day ahead in the central city. Suddenly you realise you don’t have that crucial vegetable or herb for a recipe you’ve chosen for tonight’s dinner, but you won’t have time to get to a supermarket or greengrocer.
If you work or stay anywhere near the Epicurious Garden at Brisbane’s South Bank Parklands, your problem may well be solved.
Covering more than 1,500sqm, the lush downtown edible garden overlooks the Brisbane River and the city’s buildings.
It opened back in 2014, its name chosen for its meaning: “Someone or something that lives in constant pursuit of great food and open-minded adventure.”
Containing exotic plants, fragrant herbs amid lush, tranquil surrounds, the garden also boasts seasonal fruit, vegetables and edible flowers.
Its 30 beds and herb pots were designed to show the community that the same produce can be grown at home, no matter how much space is available, and despite the city’s sometimes-taxing climate.
Specific crops are grown, depending on the time of year, to ensure they can survive the Queensland’s high temperatures and humidity.
Visitors are encouraged to take free samples of the produce from special herb pots or from the harvest cart, which has proven to be especially popular with school children, helping to educate them about where their food comes from.
“To ensure the garden remains in beautiful condition for everyone to enjoy, produce can only be harvested by our volunteers and horticulturists. If you would like to taste the produce, please either taste from the herbs in our big pots, collect samples from the harvest cart ask our volunteers to pick some for you.”
Visit Brisbane website
Currently, kale, spinach, broccoli, parsley, Asian greens and celery are growing in the Epicurious Garden.
With winter now well over, that selection will change over the next few weeks.
“The garden is a showpiece, more than just a community garden”
South Bank Parklands operations manager Greg Mitchell
There are also plenty of multi-season crops – such as lemon grass, citrus trees, bananas, dragon fruit, passion fruit, ginger, arrowroot, turmeric and yams – ensuring a variety of plants for everyone to enjoy.
South Bank Parklands operations manager Greg Mitchell said the garden was maintained by six volunteers who, every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, make themselves available to chat with visitors and educate them about how they can grow their own produce at home.
“The garden is a showpiece, more than just a community garden,” Greg explained.
He said the garden’s volunteers were responsible for planting, weeding and harvesting the produce and maintaining its beds.
“The Epicurious Garden has been a great success in our eyes, and we hope to improve it even more in the coming years,” Greg added.
Future plans for the garden, he said, would ensure it was kept to a high standard and, hopefully, be extended, “but that would need approval”.
“There is a master plan under development for the parklands, so that will include future plans for Epicurious,” Greg explained.
He said everyone was welcome to come and sample some of the produce and get advice on their own garden.
So, if it’s mid-week and you’re stuck for that last-minute essential ingredient, the Epicurious Garden’s harvest cart is open to the public from 7am – 2pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, with volunteers on hand to answer questions until 11.30am.
Words: Stephanie Spencer
Images: Stephanie Spencer / The Argus
Want to read more?
The original version of this story is one of 30 in a special online Climate Change edition of The Argus that was compiled by Queensland College of Art students from a final-year course called Transmedia Storytelling.