With a passion for books, gardens and of course the occasional Wombat, Jackie French, is a much loved Australian author as well as keen garden and nature lover.
Jackie French is a woman who wears many hats!
Predominantly we know her as an award-winning writer who is largely regarded to be one of Australia’s most popular Children’s authors. But she is much more than a writer. She is also an advocate for literacy, an ecologist, an historian, a grandmother, a cook, and even an honorary wombat! She is also a woman with a hilarious sense of off beat humour and a zest for life. But what you might not know about Jackie French (although her time on Bourke’s Backyard is a bit of a giveaway) is that she is also passionate about her environment, her natural surrounds, her garden and the various species that inhibit it.
Jackie French is a woman who loves her Blooms!
French has written numerous books dedicated to gardening including, A Year in the Valley, Growing Flowers Naturally and How to Guzzle Your Garden. If you have not read them you really should. She is passionate about growing things, eating things, sustainable living and teaching children how to make a garden grow.
Reading her books, articles or exploring the gardening section on her website www.jackiefrench.com you get a real sense of her wonderment at nature and her belief that things should be able to flourish organically and in the way in which nature intendeds it.
Her own garden, which stretches over a couple of acres around her home, is a working garden exploding with fruit, veggies, nuts and herbs. A natural labyrinth of fresh produce giving real meaning to the expression “From garden to plate!”
“It (mostly) feeds us and totally feeds countless other species, with gifts to friends as well (Humans too),” jokes French. This idea that the garden should feed not only the humans but the wildlife as well is one that French feels strongly.
“I believe that a garden – or a farm- should feed and shelter wildlife too,” says French. “We share the world, we don’t own it. And the best way to do that is to grow LOTS – with as little work on my part as possible.”
Doing minimal work in the garden is not about French being a lazy gardener but rather echoes her belief that gardens should be harvested in a way that allows them to grow naturally without too much human muddling. For French’s garden this means planting in groves. “Our garden survives the cold, heat and drought because it is planted in groves,” explains French. “And this is how we can grow such a lot without doing much – if any work”.
“Groves look after themselves. And they give us – and the wombats, wallabies and so many other inhabitants of our garden – an extraordinary amount” says French.
Aside of feeding the natives and providing a plethora of goodies that French uses to great delight in the kitchen – she loves to cook and fill the bellies of those around her. Her garden is also home to a variety of animals – wombats, wallabies, echidnas, bull ants and birds.
These guests in her garden, not only eat her food, but also provide inspiration for her writing and when she is not specifically writings about plants, nature and blooms you see these guests coming alive on the pages of many of her children’s books such as Di
ary of a Wombat and A Wombat named Bosco.
An author, a gardener, a wombat warrior and a bit of a jack-of-all-trades – Jackie French certainly wears all her caps very well!