The Garden Table is a brand new feature at the 2020 InHabit HOMEMAKERS Expo brought to you by The DIY Garden Designer. Visitors will be entertained and educated during a series of food and gardening demonstrations led by celebrity chefs, landscapers and experts. The experts will use our beautifully landscaped indoor garden as a source of inspiration. We chat to Garden Table expert: Tasha Tollman.

One of the Experts

Tasha Tollman is a qualified Education, Training and Development Practitioner who grew up in a household passionate about gardening. Tollman absorbed the art of garden design through a daily process of osmosis, imitation and workshops. She has been involved in developing interactive, experiential training material for a number of companies. She also ran a successful training and development company for over ten years.

Tasha regularly writes feature articles for SA Garden and Home where she shares design tips and trendy garden advice. In 2018 she achieved the top award of Platinum and won the prestigious Waterwise Trophy at the Garden World Spring Festival. 

We asked this year’s expert Tasha Tollman few questions and this is what she had to say. 

Garden Table

When and how did your love for gardening begin?

Every family has its share of myths, legends and stories. Growing up in a home with a mother who is passionate about creating beautiful space indoors and outdoors means that I grew up on stories about the great designers. 

One of my favourite stories was about great Japanese gardener designers. According to my mother when a person in Japan wishes to become a garden designer they need to find a master designer who would be willing to take them on as an apprentice and teach them the craft. 

This apprenticeship lasts for seven years it is a huge commitment for both student and teacher. According to the legend in our family, and I have never been able to verify the factuality of this, the Japanese students’ training begins with the art of sweeping. This according to the master trains the student’s eye, teaching them to focus and concentrate, to become aware of the smallest details and the nuances of their surroundings. 

This could simply have been my Mother’s way of getting me to sweep, but since I grew up during the time of The Karate Kid – remember wax on, wax off, I loved the idea that I was being trained in some ancient art form and that I was born to garden. My mother is Terry Moller, author of The Garden Recipe Book and a well-known, innovative thinker and designer in the South African Horticultural industry.

Where do you find your one-of-a-kind garden ideas and inspiration? 

I think Mother Nature is the master designer. I love to study how dry river streams meander through the landscape or how aloes grow naturally in the wild or the combination of textures and plants in a forest or a meadow. Sometimes I find inspiration from the scenery adjoining the garden, the colours of the beach and sea or the vineyards or the forest or the vast empty spaces of the Karoo. 

Inspiration from atmospheric places gets my creative juices flowing. I love the unusual, the unexpected. I find inspiration from the passion of other gardeners and am delighted daily by the DIY Garden Designer Club members and what they are creating in their own gardens. 

What gardening trends can we look out for 2020?

Growing your own food is continuing to increase in popularity as people become more concerned than ever with the environment. Following on the edible gardening trend is the emergence of the outdoor entertaining trend which sees hosts taking dinner guests out to the garden to pick fresh ingredients and then making a meal together. Raised beds are trending this year, not only because they look great but they also enable a back-friendly working position.

Another major trend is a renewed interest in plants that are good for our health and for the environment. The Spekboom (Portulacaria Afra) for example helps to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It acts as a carbon sponge and improves the quality of the air we breathe. 

It is edible and high in nutrients, especially Vitamin C and the perfect addition to a salad. Sucking a leaf quenches thirst and treats dehydration. Juiced leaves act as an antiseptic and to soothe skin ailments like pimples, rashes, insect stings and sunburn.

What will you be bringing to The HOMEMAKERS Expo?

The Garden Table this year will showcase nine raised planters from RainQueen, which have been planted up in themes to help you find design inspiration for your own edible garden. From planters that showcase the top herbs to grow in your garden for medicinal qualities to planters that display a variety of fresh homegrown herbal teas to delight the senses – the nine themes will inspire visitors with fresh ideas.

Pop in and visit Tasha at the show!  View the full programme or see what other show features you cannot miss here