After near on 13 months, the Murray Bridge Garden and Floral Art Club is back up and running, holding an incredibly successful event during April.
Club patron and life member Phillip Christian was delighted to attend his first meeting since before the pandemic, and won some awards in the process.
While he claimed numerous first prizes as well as the monthly champion award, Mr Christian said seeing everyone's faces was wonderful.
"I've really missed the interaction with other garden enthusiasts and hear what's been going on in each other's gardens and yes, you named it, the ever-present wish for more rain here in Murray Bridge," he said.
Club member Betty Galbraith said the club meeting was "a real God send".
"Having lost my dear husband Don last year, I have, like so many, felt isolated from friends and colleagues and the opportunity to safely socialise once again is a true blessing," she said.
"It is really good for one's moral to be able to mix and chat with friends and also to hear stimulating addresses from experts on the cultivation and propagation of plants."
April's guest speaker was Heather Welsh from Country Herbals, who presented an informative talk on the cultivation and uses of herbs.
"As a member of the Herb Society of South Australia for some 30 years, it is great for me to share my passion for growing and using herbs," Ms Welsh said.
She lives at Woodchester, where Country Herbals is located, and she relies on rainwater storage for her nursery as there is no mains water.
"Woodchester is predominantly sheep and cropping country, with bluestone and limestone rock in many areas with red loam soils," she said.
She lives and works in a "rain shadow", where they receive 14 inches of rain on average per year, and the temperature can range between -5 degrees Celsius in winter and the high 40s in summer.
"Even though it can get quite cold, the climate still allows me to grow a number of tropical herbs under cover, while plants like capers thrive," she said.
"I have the largest range of unusual herbs in SA including culinary, medicinal, dye and scented plants and an ever-changing range of vegie seedlings, leafy greens and flowering annuals - there is always something to plant in any season, for pots or in the garden."
The nursery is open on from Wednesday to Friday and Sunday or by appointment, and she attends the Adelaide Hills Farmers Market every Saturday.
April competition results
A. Floral Arrangement: 1st P Christian
B. Fruit: 1st S Patrick, 2nd R and C Butcher, 3rd B Rule
C. Large Garden Cut: 1st P Christian, 2nd B Rule, 3rd R and C Butcher
D. Small Garden Cut: 1st R and C Butcher, 2nd R and C Butcher, 3rd B Rule
E1. Rose Cut: 1st D Bolt, 2nd P Christian, 3rd R and C Butcher
E2. Miniature Rose Single bloom: 1st R and C Butcher, 2nd B Rule, 3rd P Christian
F. Vegetables: 1st B Rule
G. Home Made Produce: 1st B Rule
H. Pots/Containers/Hanging Baskets: 1st B Rule, 2nd R and C Butcher, 3rd P Christian
I. Craft: 1st B and D Hoffman
J1. Eggs: 1st C Launer, 2nd B and D Hoffman, 3rd P Crowley
J2. Autumn Bulbous/Tuberous, Rhizones: 1st P Christian, 2nd P Christian, 3rd P Christian/D Griffiths
J3. Cluster Flowered Roses: 1st P Christian, 2nd P Christian
Monthly Champion: P Christian