Q&A – Dugald Noyes, Head Gardener & Caretaker at Heide Museum of Modern Art

What does your role at Heide involve?

Managing the horticultural interests of Heide’s 16 acres of varied grounds, so we have a little bit of something for everyone. This includes kitchen gardens, orchards, roses, an indigenous space and exotic trees. Apart from my own staff, I also manage the contractors who mow the sculpture park, the arborists, volunteers and interns.

In what way do you garden sustainably at Heide?

The big one is green waste management. Basically 99.9% of all our green waste is either turned into compost or mulch. Nothing gets wasted. We have a hot composting system which kills weeds. Anything too big for our machine gets done by the arborists and turned into mulch.  We try to avoid using chemicals. Of course, the kitchen garden is organic. But due to the size of Heide, a bit of chemical use is unavoidable. We don’t have the luxury of pulling every weed by hand.

What is the most important sustainability issue at the moment?

Climate change and all its implications. I can’t believe we still have denialists in our country when it’s just absolute scientific fact. I’ve been gardening for 25 years and I’m seeing the impacts of climate change and it’s not good. More extreme weather events and plants are confused about what season it is. So, what do we do about it? All you can do is clean up your own backyard and try to be as kind to the planet as we can.

Which was your favourite Green Gardening Professionals speaker?

John Fitzgibbon’s talk on Tree and Shrub Selection for Urban Environments. Dr Peter May’s Soil Health in Urban Horticulture was a good one as well.

What are the benefits of being a Green Gardening Professional?

Hearing from industry experts on cutting edge of this, that or the other – helps to keep your knowledge up to best current practice.