With their pin-up hair, polka dot gumboots and floral watering cans, Melissa King and Chloe Thomson have brought a whole new meaning to the expression Yummy Mummy.
The pair, who co-created the online gardening and cooking series The Gardenettes, joke that snow peas never make it back to the kitchen when they send their children out to collect produce from their burgeoning home vegie patches.
“Anything they can pick they like,” Melissa, who is also a key host of Channel Nine’s Garden Gurus, laughs.
“When we started having children we really started to think about what was in our food and I think that is increasingly a driver for people to grow their own.”
Drawing inspiration from the Women’s Land Army, created to help feed the nation when men left the farming sector during World Wars I and II, Melissa and Chloe are about “putting a scarf in your hair, rolling up your sleeves and getting on with it.”
Since The Gardenettes first went to air in September last year they have produced more than 80 short videos covering everything from how to pimp your pots and pickling chillies to edible flower gardens.
“We try and target the type of questions that people google or we get asked a lot and respond to what we know our age group is interested in. As you can imagine what is wrong with my lemon tree is one of our hugely popular videos,” Chloe laughs.
As highly qualified horticulturalists at the forefront of the millennials’ green movement, with more than 13,000 Facebook followers, Chloe and Melissa will be among the star turns at this year’s State Rose and Garden Show.
For Melissa it will be a poignant event with a bed of glorious Mother and Daughter yellow roses developed by Rankins Roses to raise funds for motor neurone disease research – the disease claimed the life of her mother Jan – in full bloom among the 5000-plus bushes in the grounds of Werribee Park.
- The State Rose and Garden Show is on November 11 and 12 at the Victorian State Rose Garden, Werribee Park. Entry free.
The Gardenettes guide to blooming chic
It is nice to have colour in the garden but also on the plate. Crossing cooking and the garden in a big way are edible flowers. Think nasturtiums, violas, violets, lavenders, camomile, even snap dragons.
Old-fashioned cottage garden staples like hollyhocks and foxgloves are big, but there is also an Australian take with hot perennial gardens including gaillardia, sedums, echinacea and rudbekia which are much tougher. A lot of them are spreading so they cover the ground nicely and suppress weeds.
Indoor plants are massive, particularly with the hipster crowd. They are right into finding unique plant stands and quirky pots. But even if you don’t have a beard, bringing green inside is good for you with loads of research showing how greenery lowers your stress levels, cleans the air in homes and offices.
Roses never go out of fashion