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City West Water

Chat with The Plantress of the West

Self-confessed plant nerd, ABC TV Gardening Australia researcher and Avondale Heights resident Jane Canaway sheds a little sunlight on a life-long obsession.

What do you love about gardening?
Being outdoors, learning about plants and their role in the world, the animals that interact with them - and growing food!  


How would you describe your own garden?
Front: a mish-mash or fruit trees, herbs, natives and exotic perennials. Back: indigenous plants - a habitat garden for local wildlife.

What is your favourite plant and why?
For reliable food it would be rainbow chard - easy to grow and cook in a range of dishes. For beauty, scent and vase life then sweet peas.  But to make my heart sing it would be the Eucalypts - especially the WA mallees - stunning big colourful flowers, gorgeous form and regrow from the roots if coppiced.

What is the wackiest gardening question you have ever been asked and how did you answer it?
Q: What shall I grow? A: what do you like?

What is your favourite garden to visit and why?
Melton Botanic Gardens - stunning colour all through the year, and really interesting, tough plants.

What gardening advice would you give for the CWW service area specifically?
Assuming you have clay soil, work on that first (with gypsum and compost/manure) but don’t bring in topsoil - when your plants hit the clay they will struggle. Or simply plant some of the lovely native plants that have evolved to grow in these conditions.