Lunch at St Erth

St Erth
Photo: Steve Payne

Our readers’ lunch with the Diggers Club at their Garden of St Erth was held on Friday and was a wonderful success.

We had a packed room to hear OG contributor and author Penny Woodward outline the essentials of natural pest control and pest-repellent plants, while Diggers founder Clive Blazey took a more political tack, discussing the value of heirlooms in the face of genetic engineering and the buy-up of seed companies by multinationals. Both talks were informative and inspiring.

A packed room for lunch

The talks were preceded by a tour of the gardens, led by head gardener, Julian Blackhirst. 

I had never been to St Erth before, nestled in the hills of Blackwood, about an hour and a half outside of Melbourne. Blackwood had experienced high winds, storms and cold the day before our lunch, so it was a relief to have a sunny, if brisk day to enjoy the gardens, which feature not just large plantings of daffodils and ornamentals, but a berry garden, extensive vegetable patches and espaliered fruit trees. We plan to do a story on St Erth soon.

A wonderful spread

And I can’t not mention the amazing all-organic food and wine, some grown at St Erth. Some of the readers wanted the recipes, which Diggers will hopefully get up on their website soon and which we could put on OG’s. The menu was:


  • Organic sour dough from Red Beard Bakery
  • Mount Zero olive oil and olives
  • Roast pork loin with apple sauce
  • Braised chicken with olives
  • Organic vegetable platter
  • Garden salad
  • Almond and rhubarb tart with double cream.

The standout would have to have been the organic vegetable platter, featuring carrots of all colours. So many thanks to the chef and staff at Diggers.

And thanks to all the readers who came and shared the beautiful food and talk, and to Diggers for their ongoing, valued support and for hosting the event.

As I said on the day, the transformative power of plants and gardening cannot be underestimated.


By: Steve Payne

First published: September 2013

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