Tumbarumba’s Linda Blencowe travelled the world looking for a place to call home. After growing up in Sydney she wandered through Great Britain, Europe, and North Africa; explored Indonesia back when Bali was just a few huts on a beach; spent a year working on a Northern Territory cattle station; and had a myriad of other adventures in special spots around the globe before the magic in the mountains came calling and she found somewhere she could settle.
“One day I came here and went ‘hmm, I think I like this place,’ and ended up staying,” she said of Tumbarumba, which has now been her home of 35 years.
“I just believe it’s such a great place. After having travelled the world I’ve always come here and been totally amazed at how more people haven’t found this area, because it’s just so beautiful.
“I think it’s a real hidden gem. There’s not many places in Australia that have this topography and climate – it’s such a small part of Australia. The rest of it is flat and dry, and this really is the only little pocket that has that beautiful climate and beautiful scenery similar to Northern France and England.”
For Linda there’s two things that make Tumbarumba special: the people, and the perfect conditions for gardening.
“They’re very passionate about their community here,” she said.
“There’s a huge volunteer base. Volunteers have basically built the hospital and have done lots of other great works around the place – too numerous to mention!
“The other thing I love is the seasons. I’m a big gardener and I’ve gardened in a lot of different climates, and I love this climate because it doesn’t have the pests and diseases that the warmer climates do.”
She can attest firsthand as to the variety of produce that thrives in the alpine air. Her own backyard, at various times of the year, is home to watermelons, rockmelons, cherries, pears, peaches, nectarines, apples, blueberries, raspberries, gooseberries, boysenberries, thornless blackberries, loganberries, five sorts of plums, asparagus, artichokes, alpine strawberries, broad beans, onions, carrots, beans, tomatoes, capsicums, eggplant, turnips, and zucchinis.
As she explained, her enthusiastic green thumb is helped out by the ideal weather conditions.
“We don’t get those tropical diseases so we don’t have to spray,” she said.
“We don’t get the fruit flies so we don’t have that problem of having to have everything netted, and it is almost impossible to fight fruit fly except with strong chemicals. I like to grow organic, so this is a fabulous climate for that.
“The frosts tend to get rid of all the pests in the soil and on the plants, and you’ve still got a long growing season. You can just about grow anything here that you can name, except for tropical fruits.”
The Snowy Valleys Up Close initiative highlights people and places in the community that make this region so special.
For more see snowyvalleysupclose.com.au.