Citrus care and creating a bee-friendly garden a focus of two talks at Gidgegannup Small Farm Field Day

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Award winning journalist and garden designer Deryn Thorpe.
Camera IconAward winning journalist and garden designer Deryn Thorpe. Credit: Supplied/Supplied

Well-known podcaster and gardening aficionado Deryn Thorpe will give two talks focused on growing citrus and creating a bee-friendly garden at this year’s Gidgegannup Small Farm Field Day.

The Mt Lawley-based gardener and co-founder of All The Dirt Podcast will take to the Sustainability Pavilion at 1.30pm for an hour-long presentation on citrus tree care, before heading to the main marquee for a 30-minute presentation on how to create a bee-friendly garden at 2.45pm.

It’s her fourth time speaking at the Field Day, an event Ms Thorpe loves for its focus on small landholdings — where a couple of acres could be turned into a haven not far from the city.

Citrus gall wasp damage on a lemon tree.
Camera IconCitrus gall wasp damage on a lemon tree. Credit: Deryn Thorpe/Deryn Thorpe

“The first talk will look at all the types of citrus people can grow on small landholdings, not just the common ones like lemons and oranges,” she said.

“We will look at how to grow them in the ground, including soil improvement, fertilising, growing them in pots, and highlight some of the dwarf varieties that are available.

“And then we’re going to look at the problems people might have with citrus.”

Some of those challenges include different diseases and pests, including the well-known pest fruit fly and less-known pests such as the citrus gall wasp, which Ms Thorpe said was a “reasonably new” issue in WA.

The second talk will be focused on creating a bee-friendly garden, but Ms Thorpe said she would speak about how to create the best environment for “all kinds of pollinators”.

“This will look at how to create a garden that flowers year round,” Ms Thorpe said.

“What we really want is to create a garden that provides flowers with pollen that is available to the bees all year around.”

An award-winning garden journalist and podcaster, Ms Thorpe’s articles can be read in Gardening Australia magazine and on her own website, while her voice is regularly on radio.

Each fortnight, she produces one of Australia’s most popular garden podcasts, All The Dirt, after founding it in 2017 with Augusta-based gardening broadcaster Steve Wood.

Steve Wood and Deryn Thorpe.
Camera IconSteve Wood and Deryn Thorpe. Credit: Supplied

Their guests include scientists talking about plant communication and soil life, enthusiasts sharing knowledge of specialities such as indoor plants, succulents and tropical plants and environmentalists talking about unique Australian plants.

With 1.1 million downloads, it is one of the most successful gardening podcasts in Australia.

“Most garden festivals I go to are focused on small home gardeners, and what I love about this one — is while it looks after small home gardeners — it is a small farm field day,” she said.

“There are a lot of people out there with reasonable sized properties.

“The Gidgegannup show is a fun day, and there is plenty of information for people who have a few acres.”

Ms Thorpe lives on a 1200sqm block in Mt Lawley, in a Federation home she bought in the 1980s and became “obsessed” with making look beautiful — sparking her interest in plants.

She worked as a journalist and a tour guide before buying the home, and it was that purchase that saw her immerse herself in plants before starting All the Dirt in 2017.

She and her husband Bill Davey also run one of WA’s biggest farm revegetation businesses called Plantation and Landcare Services, planting up to 870,000 trees on farms and roadsides annually.

Together, they arrange and execute revegetation projects in the Wheatbelt — traveling from Northampton to Albany — with plans to head to Beacon at the end of the month.

Ms Thorpe will present her talk on citrus tree care at 1.30pm in the Sustainability Pavilion, while her second presentation — on building a bee-friendly garden – will be held in the main marquee at 2.45pm.

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