Green Thumb and Green Stalwart

Meet Eddie Smith, long time Green member and supporter for nearly forty years from the Lake Pedder days until now.

Eddie in his wonderful garden

Eddie in his wonderful garden

Eddie is 96 and lives on Tasmania’s beautiful east coast surrounded by the garden he has planted and tended for decades. With his sight fading, he now has a gardener to help him and it is a joy to see them working together maintaining Eddie’s life work.

He has held many campaign functions for me over the years and so I called on him as I travelled up the coast last week. There he was with spring bulbs emerging everywhere, camellias flowering and fruit trees carefully pruned including this very good frame for supporting loganberries. I couldn’t help noticing his mulberry tree, yet another in a Tasmanian garden.

Waiting for summer: Eddie's loganberries and frame

Waiting for summer: Eddie's loganberries and frame

Since writing a blog post on mulberries, I have now discussed this with many other Tasmanians and it is odd but we all agree that this fruit was never used in the kitchen when we were children. Perhaps we were all too spoilt for choice with raspberries and strawberries and looked down on this poor relation.

Eddie's old mulberry patiently waiting for warmer days

Eddie's old mulberry patiently waiting for warmer days

Eddie was a great educator in Tasmania and was principal of a number of schools before he retired. His other claim to fame is being Paul Smith’s father. Paul is the person who invited Bob Brown to accompany him down the Franklin River and set in train Bob’s great love for the river and the wilderness.

As I left what came into my mind was a stanza from Judith Wright’s poem, South of My Days,

O cold the black-frost night. the walls draw in to the warmth

and the old roof cracks its joints; the slung kettle

hisses a leak on the fire. Hardly to be believed that summer

will turn up again some day in a wave of rambler-roses,

thrust it’s hot face in here to tell another yarn-

a story old Dan can spin into a blanket against the winter.

seventy years of stories he clutches round his bones,

seventy years are hived in him like old honey.

96 great years are hived in Eddie like old honey and here’s hoping that he will celebrate 100.

6 thoughts on “Green Thumb and Green Stalwart

  1. Well, it’s so nice to know that Eddie is still going well. We dropped in on Lisdillon some 25 years ago and he gave us visitors tremendous country hospitality.

    Even 10 years ago he was ringing up to make a few points on the issues of the day, gentle worldly-wise character that he is.

    • Hi Chris, Eddie would love to hear from you as he still reads a bit if it is in reasonably big print. He wanted to know if he was the oldest Green in Tas but not so as Eve Masterman is 102.
      Cheers Christine

  2. Hi Christine,
    just discovered your gardening blog – have been hearing great things about your garden from others around Hobart! Wanted to let you and your bloggers know about http://www.gardeningwithhelen.wordpress.com where I ramble on about adventures of the backyard and further afield into the beautiful gardens of Tasmania I get to visit as a garden writer. Will add you to my blog roll!

  3. Hi Chris,
    Really great to see Eddie still going strong. Lisdillon is such a beautiful place and winters on the East Coast are second to none I think, especially those bright still days.

    I particularly have fond memories of picking mulberries with friends at Avoca, especially the purple fingers.

    All this has reminded me of an artist who has been growing “edible Estates” as an art project. His name is Fritz Haeg and after establishing his 1st Attack on the Front Lawn and growing an edible estate in America, has been developing them in other countries, including at the Tate Modern in London.

    We don’t need an art project to ditch the front lawn, very happy to grow food instead, but it is a great way of getting a message out…….not just healthy food, but reducing our carbon footprint and building communities with sharing produce. Like it all…………

    Cheers Di

  4. Darn, 96 years old and still gardening – that’s fantastic. wish we all can do that. Let’s see, I’m a yhuoung 71 so that gives me another 25 years to catch up.

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