Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

No Weeds Grow under Backyard's First Bloke

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

No Weeds Grow under Backyard's First Bloke

Article excerpt

Byline: Tracey Johnstone

GREEN thumb expert Don Burke reveals some little known secrets about his passions that have kept the enthusiastic gardener, television star and flower show guest living life to the full.

In one part of his life, he continues to delight all those lucky enough to meet him as he travels throughout Australia presenting gardening shows. However, when those jobs are complete, the outspoken advocate for keeping life simple, but fun, retreats to his small acreage to continue working on his garden and other enthralling passions.

Tucked away in one corner of his Sydney home is a secret garden Don has nurtured for the enjoyment of his two grandsons. In one area, native orchids overhang from the rocks, and make colourful pickings for the children to present to their mother. In another corner of his five acres he grows Australian indigenous plants, most of which are local natives. It's one of the few of its kind in Australia.

From time to time Don even allows overseas visitors to the private garden.

"A while back we had a big Chinese group came through as they hadn't seen Australian gardens," Don said.

During the visit, he and his wife Marea set up lunch using native Australian food.

"The guests were mostly men and were quite worried about eating crocodile, so I told them it was great for virility, at which point they ate the lot," he quipped.

The only native edible plant he grows in that garden section is the common lilly pilly.

"It produces little berries, about the size of a pea, and abundant fruit, and that makes a brilliant jam like quince jelly, and a great sauce to use on meat."

In another part of his garden, quarantined from the indigenous section, are his lovingly cultivated citrus and vegetables plants.

The 70-year-old remains full of energy and enthusiasm for promoting happy, healthy lifestyles.

He remembers his Burke's Backyard television show as the pioneer for the cloned television lifestyle shows which now seem to dominate our prime viewing times. …

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