By Allan Shephard
Who would have thought a trip to IndigiScapes for plants could lead to a bush tucker experience?
If you haven’t been to IndigiScapes, you’re missing a lot packed into a small area, including themed display gardens, bushwalks, picnic areas, gift shop, café and plant nursery. One of the display gardens, the “Wild Herb Garden”, features edible plants. I was lucky enough to bump into IndigiScapes’ Operations Manager Jeanette Adams on the way to the gardens. She told me a little about the history of the Wild Herb Garden and gave me a quick tour. Around 16 years ago, Quandamooka elder Aunty Margaret provided guidance on plants used by the Quandamooka people for food and medicine. In the garden you’ll find native mint, ginger and mulberry, a local species of macadamia tree, peanut trees, a beach groundcover called Pigface and more.
Pigface is a great example. It’s the succulent-looking groundcover with pretty pink flowers you often see at the beach. The soft gel inside the green leaves acts like Aloe Vera and is helpful for soothing sunburn and midge bites. Once the flower has wilted, the little fruit left behind is edible and apparently tastes a little like a salty plum. Food and medicine in one plant.
See the little picture in the bottom left? Those tiny little squishy jelly-like things? They’re native mulberries and are smaller than baby peas. They have a very subtle flavour, and taste nothing like their namesake. Jeanette was right when she said you’d need to collect a lot to make a pie.
Although I grabbed a snack and drink from the café on the way to the gardens, Jeanette suggested I should try a couple of more bush tucker creations from the Indigi Café on the way back. So, my bush tucker inspired snacks included a Bush Tucker Savoury Muffin served with a local tomato relish and cream, a glass of locally-produced iced lemon myrtle drink, a small tart with macadamias, sandalwood nuts and lilly-pilly, plus a fudge made with Robertson Plums and a chocolate base. The exotic taste and texture of the tart was a real standout.
Despite almost having to be rolled out of IndigiScapes, I came away with some new inspiration for edible plants for our gardens at home. After a bit of planning, I can come back to the nursery for plants. And maybe more snacks from the café!
But, on an important note…please don’t taste any fruits or plants in gardens or in the wild unless you know exactly what you’re eating. Sampling the wrong plant could have harmful or fatal consequences.
Indigiscapes is located at 17 Runnymede Rd, Capalaba and is open 7 days a week from 10am – 4pm. The Tea Garden Cafe is open from 10am – 3pm everyday. Nursey sales are the first Saturday of each month from 9am – 12pm.