My name is Jess Bamford and I am a compulsive learner.
Ever since I was a child, I have had a fascination with discovering the unknown, and I was a real hassle to my parents because I always wanted to know ‘what was over there’ and rarely sat still. Thankfully, I have found a way to channel this obsession into something constructive – a passion for fungi and plants.
I am often asked where my interest in fungi & plants came from, and honestly there is no simple answer to that question. I don’t recall a real affinity with nature when I was growing up, and I certainly didn’t appreciate the wonder of gardening. The best answer that I can give is that this interest grew rather like a fungus – subtle and unnoticed, slowly developing until one day, after a good dose of rain, it erupted into full blown obsession and then I became a host for fungi to spread the spores of mycological interest, knowledge and passion.
My partner, Jesse and I own and operate Botanical Curiosities: A nursery for unusual herbs, heirloom vegetables & botanical oddities. Our plants are rich in history, whether the seeds have been saved & handed down through generations or the plants simply have wonderful folklore stories and a history of medicinal uses – every plant has a story to tell, and it is our job to help spread that story & get them back into home gardens where they can be appreciated. Our seed & cutting material is sourced from locally grown, organic plant material wherever possible.
We host workshops on different topics including mushroom cultivation, growing vegetables and plant propagation to help others to build the confidence to grow their own food at home. At this point in time, these workshops are held at Joe’s Connected Garden in Elizabeth Grove, but 2018 will see us on the move, delivering workshops in many different locations around Adelaide.
We also sell grow-your-own mushroom kits and are currently in the process of expanding this aspect of our business so that we can offer more mushroom-related products and services, so watch this space for updates on new varieties & products as they become available.
We are now avid gardeners and look after a variety of vegetables, herbs & fungi in our backyard which is part of Joe’s Connected Garden community permaculture garden in Elizabeth Grove. At JCG, we grow over 400 varieties of fruits including many unusual and rare varieties and have been refereed to as a ‘food jungle’ which is rather fitting, especially when we don’t prune the trees for a few months.
JCG has recently received the Fund My Neighbourhood grant, a government incentive where the local community in different areas votes for projects to improve their neighbourhood in one way or another. It is our aim to offer workshops, school visits, tours and demonstrations to educate the local community on sustainable home food production and permaculture principles, using our gardens as an example of what can be achieved with a bit of community co-operation.
This blog hosts stories of our garden adventures & projects, profiles fungi & plants, successes, failures & lessons learned.
Qualifications & Affiliations:
Certificates in conservation & land management and horticulture.
Members of the Adelaide fungal studies group.
Members of fungimap.
Members of the Rare Fruit Society of South Australia.