Gardening Australia – Never Enough Natives

Presented by Australia's leading horticultural experts, this is a great tribute to stallholder Southern Fleurieu Flora.

Victor Harbor Farmers Market is extremely honored to have Gill and John Muller’s garden featured on ABC's prestigious "Gardening Australia" TV program.

SERIES 30 | Episode 31

Sophie visits the small garden, but jam-packed garden, of an inveterate native plant collector in the coastal town of Port Eliot.

Gill Muller and husband John bought their house seven years ago after living in the Adelaide Hills, gardening under the canopy of eucalypts and dealing with root competition.  Fortunately, they found a cheap place out the back of Port Eliot, which gave Gill a ‘clean slate’ to set up a garden, and the progress over this time is astonishing. Gill was bitten by the Australian native plant bug at a young age and has been a keen collector and gardener ever since.

Eremophilas planted into the bitumen footpath greet the visitor, and forms a suitable entry to this magnificent garden, which spills from the backyard to the front, and onto the footpath.  As Gill says, she is “very much a collector, but I’ve tried to place plants in the “rooms” concept.” Gill loves Australian plants from dryland or arid regions. Her front yard is dedicated to dryland species as it’s full sun with good drainage. She loves Eremophilas, but also the small Mallee Eucalypts, like the Round-leaved Mallee (Eucalyptus minniritchi).  Many are planted in raised beds and also in pots.

Gill says of her space “People can’t believe the growth in my garden. ‘What do you feed it?’ I don’t fertilise anything other than my vegies. I use pebble mulch, a by-product of sand mining in the local area.” Like the bitumen on the footpath, the pebble mulch provides radiant heat and keeps the humidity down, and this can be seen by the booming Eremophillas throughout the garden, including the fascinating Eremophilla flaccida.

Growing plants in pots is Gill’s speciality and she moved 600 potted plants to the new house when they moved. It took four days! She loves planting combinations in pots, and advises that “many natives thrive in pots, as longs as they have great drainage”. There’s a spot in her front yard dedicated to a group of potted Lechenaultia species, in blue, red and yellow including the spectacular Lechenaultia biloba ‘Ruffles’ paired with a Star Guinea Flower (Hibbertia stellaris) and the Morning Flag Lily (Orthrosanthus multiflorus). “Growing in pots means I can move a plant around until I find where it will be happy.” One plant that is incredibly happy in its potted home is a twenty-year-old Sticky Wattle (Acacia howittii ‘Prostrate’) with it’s beautiful, almost bonsai, weeping habit.

There are some stunning plants in this relatively small garden, including the rare and endangered Tumut Grevillea (Grevillea wilkinsonii), the spectacular four-year-old Heath-leafed Banksia (Banksia ericifolia) and the Scarlet Honey Myrtle (Melaleuca fulgens) putting on a stunning floral display.  The diversity of flowers and foliage within this space is remarkable, and have been grouped into “rooms” by Gill as part of the gardens design.

Gill also has some ‘special’ plants in the garden, those that have taken many years to locate. One such plant is the Creamy Candles (Stackhousia monogyna), a delicate plant local to Gills area. In a garden like Gills, it is hard to pick favourite plants, but over time she has become more and more attracted to the Grevilleas, especially grafted standard grevilleas, including the Grevillea ‘Wendy Sunshine’ and Grevillea ‘Lollypops’ (Grevillea cv.).  A Thomasia (Thomasia triphylla) is another beauty in the garden, as is the Kennedia microphylla and the heavily scented Boronia ‘Purple Jared (Boronia heterophylla x Boronia megastigma ‘Purple Jared’).

But it’s not all natives – Gill also has some sentimental plants handed down from her gardening parents and grandparents, including a Creeping Fuchsia (Fuchsia procumbens), Leopard Plant (Farfugium japonicum) and a gorgeous Wood Hyacinth (Ledebouria socialis) “which has been in the same pot for over forty years”.


So many plants are happy here in Gill’s garden. It shows what can be achieved in a short space of time, when your number one house-buying requirement is good soil! Growing plants in pots means that they are easy to move, from one house to another, and also around the garden until you find that perfect place.

Click here for the video interview with Gill!

Country Style Magazine 2019

SA Life


Click here to download a PDF of the full article in SA LIFE October 2017.


Date: 01/10/17
Page: 114
Section: Wine & Dine – State Secrets
Region: South Australia
Circulation: 12,000

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The Longest Table logo
Victor Harbor Farmers Market hosted
'The Longest Table' Cancer Charity event on Saturday the 26th of July.

Brilliant morning with brilliant people! So proud of these guys, the stallholders and the market as a whole. Everyone stepped up and we not only raised funds for #TheLongestTable but we really demonstrated just how fantastic the produce is from our market.

Thank you to Bree of #MKR fame for your excellent maitre d' skills, you were an angel and Chloe of The Longest Table for setting beautiful tables and keeping the orders moving.

Victor Harbor Farmers Market Newsletter Summer 2013/14

Brent, Tony and Susan were just remarkable and none of this would have happened without their culinary skills. Thank you to my daughters and Molly for keeping the punters refreshed and in cutlery.

The Longest Table

I learnt a lot and am already planning next years event to make it bigger and better. Lastly thank you to you who attended, I heard some sad stories, got given great hugs and at the end of it all knew that we hadn't just raised money, we made people feel good at the same time as serving up excellent food.

Thank you, with love and gratitude, Lea.

Lea Auerbach takes over from Brenton Tamblyn as manager of the Victor Harbor Farmers' Market.

By MICHAEL SIMMONS, THE TIMES, Thursday, March 27, 2014

There is a breath of fresh air blowing through Grosvenor Gardens on a Saturday morning with the appointment of a new manager for the Victor Harbor Farmers' Market. Lea Auerbach has been appointed to replace outgoing manager Brenton Tamblyn and her goal is to make the market "the best in Australia." Lea attended her first market on Saturday, March 22, and is working closely with Brenton, as she understands the issues with the popular market. "It is a real community at the Victor Harbor Farmers' Market and it is a dream role for me," Lea said. "The market has a fantastic atmosphere and vendors were very supportive and positive. I think I will fit in well, as my aim is to continue Brenton's good work, keep all the existing stallholders, while seeking new ones that will focus on selling local Fleurieu produce and make the market the best in Australia." Lea and her family have moved from Tasmania and are currently living at Middleton. Lea's experience includes being a community outreach worker and event management. "We have been here two months and absolutely love living here with the people, weather, beach and of course the market," she said. "I plan to build on what has been achieved at the Victor Harbor Farmers' Market over the past five years."

New Manager Lea Auerbach and Brent Tamblyn, Victor Harbor Farmers Market

Brenton said "Lea is the perfect choice. She will do an outstanding job and I am really happy with who the committee has selected," he said. "I would like to thank all members, supporters and customers for making the market what it has become." Treasurer of the Farmers' Market and on selection for the new manager, Sue Thwaites said there were nine applicants for the position. "They were all outstanding applicants," Susan said. "We were surprised with the quality of the applicants and we know Lea will bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm to the market. Lea will grow our membership and sponsorship, embrace the community and increase our marketing potential. The committee of the Victor Harbor Farmers' Market would like to thank Brenton for all his efforts over the past five years. He has been fantastic."

New Manager Lea Auerbach and Brent Tamblyn, Victor Harbor Farmers Market
HANDING OVER THE PRODUCE: Outgoing manager of the Victor Harbor Farmers' Market Brenton Tamblyn wishes new manager Lea Auerbach great success in her new role.


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