Sophie Thomson’s love affair with the environment and gardening was inherited from her plant loving parents whilst growing up and working at the family nursery in the Adelaide Hills. What started out as being part of the family business eventually became a key driver in her life as she steadily acquired in-depth knowledge of the nursery’s large collection of rare and distinctive plant varieties?
Today, Sophie lives at Sophie’s Patch – a three-acre property in the Adelaide Hills, with husband Richard, five children under 19 and a menagerie of animals. Over the last nine years ‘The Patch’ now includes numerous contained spaces as well as a fully productive organic vegie patch, more than 100 fruit and nut trees and what she hopes one day will be a breathtaking, climate compatible ornamental garden.
With 35 years of experience behind her, she describes herself as an ‘obsessive-compulsive gardener’ who, were it not for the demands of her career and family, would spend every day in the garden.
For more than 15 years Sophie has appeared on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia, features weekly on talk-back radio with ABC Radio Adelaide as well as writing for the popular Gardening Australia magazine and other publications, including the weekly gardening column for the Adelaide Sunday Mail and the Weekender Herald.
Sophie’s down to earth approach makes her a popular speaker around Australia at gardening and lifestyle events as well as industry conferences and functions. In addition, she does many talks for local government organisations and community groups. This gives her the opportunity to share her knowledge and inspire discussion on the issues of the day, as well as enthuse community engagement with relevant projects.
She is passionate about the role gardening can play in people’s lives as a stress reliever. With more people claiming to feel stressed in their daily lives, let alone having to deal with the challenges faced when experiencing natural disasters such as flood or fires, she is convinced that gardening has a vital role to play in individual and community health, which is being backed up by research and engagement worldwide.
“I believe gardening provides some of the solutions to life’s challenges” says Sophie “because it reduces stress, teaches us resilience, care of our environment and gives us great pleasure and rewards when we see what we can achieve through our endeavours”.
Sophie consults to a variety of public, commercial and domestic South Australian gardens. With a strong focus on appropriate plant selection, she encourages clients to develop water-wise, climate compatible gardens that display colour for twelve months of the year. She says of joining the Expert Panel for Smart Approved WaterMark that it “made absolute sense to be part of the panel to share my knowledge and experience”.
Our team at Smart Approved WaterMark is incredibly grateful for the time and consideration Sophie is extending to the panel. Her extensive knowledge of garden management and the climate compatibility and sustainability of Australian plants is sure to be an asset to the Expert Panel and the applications they review going forward.