When Kylie and Steve Stapleton decided to turn their garden in Brisbane’s northern suburbs into an edible forest, one of the first trees they planted was carambola, also known as starfruit — so naturally they named their little piece of paradise The Green Carambola.
The Southeast Asian native isn’t the only tropical exotic growing in profusion on their 612sqm block. There’s also black sapote — a South American persimmon sometimes called chocolate pudding fruit — and New Guinea bean, which is neither from New Guinea nor a bean but a vigorous African climber that produces a long, pale-green gourd somewhere between a squash and a zucchini.
This so-called bottle gourd, a cucurbit also called calabash and used in West Africa to make eating utensils and musical instruments, shares space with a massive passionfruit vine on a trellis that Steve built.
Marginally more familiar are dragon fruit, blueberries, pawpaw, low-chill peaches, the prolific ‘Panama Gold’ passionfruit and ‘Dwarf Cavendish’ bananas.
Among the non-fruit items are several varieties of beans (including sword beans), peas, okra, corn, tomatoes (OK, that’s a fruit), cabbages, parsley, garlic and a few varieties of sweet potatoes.
The couple wish they had space for even more fruit trees but, while still working fulltime, they find the space is more than enough to look after. Their dream is one day to have a hobby farm on an acreage — but in the meantime they thought, “Why wait?”
THE GARDENING BUG
A high-school visual arts and inclusive education teacher, Kylie loves cooking, hiking and kayaking as well as drawing, printmaking and painting. But she says that since the age of 14 or 15 “she’d start up a small patch in the garden wherever they lived at the time”.
Steve describes himself as “gardener by day, craft beer connoisseur by night”. Besides dabbling in brewing he does much of the grunt work around the garden, such as building the trellis that Kylie hopes will one day support a grapevine.
Among his handiwork are the timber raised beds in the backyard and the raised corrugated-iron beds in the front garden as well as a potting bench and garden sink.
Ever the artist, Kylie loves using old ladders and trestles to grow things on and a lot of her art is inspired by their surrounding garden.
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Ducks on duty
BUSY, VIGILANT, HARD ON GARDEN PESTS AND GENEROUS LAYERS — YOU’VE GOTTA LOVE A DUCK!
A PROFUSION OF ZOOKS
THE ZUCCHINI IS NOT ONLY EASY TO GROW, IT PRODUCES A NON-STOP BOUNTY AND HAS ENDLESS USES IN THE KITCHEN
WITH THEIR INFINITE VARIETY AND BREATHTAKING BEAUTY, THERE’S A GUM THAT’S JUST RIGHT FOR EVERY GARDEN
A floral Noël
FOR SOME ATTRACTIVE DYI YULETIDE DECORATIONS, LOOK NO FURTHER THAN YOUR OWN GARDEN
A SHROOM OF YOUR OWN
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SEA BUCKTHORN HAS MULTIPLE USES AS BIRD AND INSECT HABITAT, SOIL EROSION INHIBITOR AND SKIN TREATMENT
Garden to table
Burnt honey semifreddo with seasonal fruits | Chocolate mousse cake | Lemon custard with seasonal fruits and toasted honey nuts | Simple almond blender cake
Ears to you
PROLIFIC AND EASY TO GROW, SWEET CORN IS ONE OF THE OLDEST CULTIVATED CROPS IN THE WORLD
WITH ITS UNIQUE SHAPE, CARAMBOLA DESERVES TO BE THE STAR OF YOUR NEXT FRUIT SALAD
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Make healthy snacking easy. Keeping fruit, vegetables and other accessible nutritious ingredients in the refrigerator or pantry increases the chances you’ll reach for a better-for-you option when a snack craving strikes. Having staple ingredients on hand that can be paired with vegetables or whole-grain crackers like Fresh Cravings Hummus makes it easy to create healthy snacks. Made with high-quality ingredients like smooth Chilean extra-virgin olive oil, savory tahini, which is known to be a source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and non-GMO chickpeas, the line is available in Classic Hummus, Roasted Red Pepper and Roasted Garlic varieties and can be found in 100% recyclable packaging in the produce aisle of your local grocery store.
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