Lizzie Learns to…care for plants

Written by Lizzie Macaulay

So today I’m going to be writing about one of my favourite destinations on the Fraser Coast.

It has made a huge impact on myself and my family, and is the home to so many happy memories.

We’ve adventured there.

We’ve taken pieces of it home with us from the incredible nursery.

But what we’ve never done is take a sneaky peek behind the scenes.

Lucky for me, this is the order of the day for this month’s adventure for Alive.

I’ve been a regular visitor to Bamboo Land Nursery and Parklands over the last decade, and with every visit I’m surprised by either how the place has a) been re-shaped or b) grown.

The familiar creak of the skyscraper-tall bamboo is one of life’s great simple pleasures.

The gentle movement of the Burrum River gliding by is deeply soothing to sit by and admire.

This spectacularly secluded sanctuary is home to all sorts of magic, and of course it starts with the nursery and parkland’s owners, Janne and Tarissa Nilsson.

The pair work tirelessly to bring their vision to life, and were kind enough to open their doors to us to understand what it really takes to run an operation of this magnitude.
(And trust me, magnitude is the right word!)

We all know the dirt road that leads us to the entrance. You turn left, you park and you wander about in the wonderland Janne, Tarissa and the crew have sculpted and curated over time…

But have you ever looked to the right instead?

Across the road from the main gardens is where a different kind of magic happens.

Rows and rows of greenhouse-style structures are brimming with every type of tropical plant imaginable. Lush. Green. Happy.

You’d be surprised to discover the amount of technical prowess used to keep these plants alive and thriving…

They’re watered, nurtured and monitored to the point that if something doesn’t go according to the normal plan, you’d instantly know about it, and have the ability to make whatever tweaks needed before there’s a problem.

I suppose that must be both the blessing and the curse of living on-site… Janne and Tarissa’s work is never done. But there’s likely a lot of satisfaction in knowing you’ll always be there to pitch in where needed, and step in before little things become big things.

Next, we got to meet some of Bamboo Land’s 30 members of staff.

It was so clear that they were super contented in their work, and I totally got it. It’s a physical job, sure, but with that amount of fresh air and nature surrounding you every day, I’m quite sure you’d leave every shift feeling fulfilled and happy in the knowledge that you were doing something that was truly a privilege.

I spent some time with Wendy, who was rehoming some of the Bamboo Land indoor staples. They’d gotten too big for their pots, so it was time to give them a little bit of room and a lot more opportunity to grow.

I think there’s some sort of allegory about life in general in that. Something along the lines of: When you’re feeling stuck and suffocated, it’s a sign you’ve been growing and it’s time for a bigger metaphorical pot!

Wendy had a giant mound of soil in front of her. And I’ve gotta tell you, as I watched her work, floods of memories of gardening with my dad as a kid came rushing back and that rich, earthy aroma enveloped us.

Leaving Wendy and her peers to get on with what they do best, the conversation turned to the future for Bamboo Land.

It’s changed so much since its inception.

But what’s more, even with how far the space has come already, there’s still so much more to come for Bamboo Land.

Janne shared a little of the plans for the future; how much space they still have to work with, how their vision for the giant steel structure we’re all so curious about is finally going to be realised, how the secret orchard behind the rail carriage is going to keep getting bigger (and less secret).

And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to see it all play out. Everything that’s to come is not only going to be a plus for Bamboo Land itself, but is also the exact thing that puts the whole Fraser Coast on the map once again as a destination for forward-thinking, unmissable brilliance. Great food, a great setting, and of course, great people to boot.

Before we ended our time out in the wilderness, we had one last highlight to tick off the list – saying a big hello to world’s friendliest dog, and Bamboo Land’s unofficial mascot, Ruby. There’s nothing quite so joyful as Ruby gratefully receiving a loving belly rub, or curiously following after you to see what fun and games might be afoot amongst the wilderness.

With all the sights seen, and conversations had, it was time to say goodbye and head home from this hidden piece of tranquillity.

While we may have only visited for a short time this time, one thing is for sure… we’ll be back again, and again, and again…

If you haven’t made it out there before, or even if you have, it’s time to pay Janne, Tarissa and the team a visit, restore yourself in their unique surrounds, and dream of all the possibilities that life spent with nature can offer.

With deep gratitude to Janne and Tarissa for sharing their incredible space with us. You can visit Bamboo Land seven days a week at 77-87 Old Coach Road, Torbanlea QLD 4662. If you can’t make the journey, you can still bring the magic of Bamboo Land straight into your garden by shopping at their website: