Sophie Thomson’s enduring love affair with plants and gardening was inherited from her plant loving parents and her early training began working at the family nursery in the Adelaide Hills.
What started-out as a necessity 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. After the nursery was sold, Sophie embarked as a garden consultant and took an active role in the media.
Sophie Thomson lights up the screen as ABC television’s Gardening Australia South Australian presenter, where her enthusiasm for gardening inspires people of all ages. She is also a popular newspaper columnist, national public speaker, TEDx presenter, author, broadcaster and horticulturalist. As well as writing for the Gardening Australia magazine, Sophie writes the weekly gardening column for the Adelaide Sunday Mail and the Weekender Herald.
Sophie’s first book From the Ground Up – a complete guide for South Australian Gardeners was released in November 2008 and was judged the best general gardening book in Australia at the 2009 biennial Laurel Awards for Horticultural Media of Australia. It was the first South Australian book to win this award. Sophie co-authored the Reader’s Digest book Waterwise Gardening and the Reader’s Digest publication The Ultimate Book of Vegetables. Her next book ‘Sophie’s Patch’ is due out in autumn 2018.
She lives at Sophie’s Patch – a three-acre property in the Adelaide Hills, with husband Richard, five children under 16 and a menagerie of animals. Over the last five years they have created a remarkable garden around the old stone cottage on what was once a bare paddock. The Patch 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.
Sophie is known for her resilience, environmental outlook, laser-like focus as well as her infectious enthusiasm, vitality and love of sustainable gardening. 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.
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”.
She is an advocate for the worldwide Nature Play movement, which helps kids develop a lifelong connection with nature, and strongly believes in creating green backyards and green open spaces where kids can play freely, reducing their screen time in favour of green time.
Twice a year she opens her Sophie’s Patch garden to thousands of visitors who come to experience her gardening prowess first hand. The large fenced orchard where geese mow the grass and eat fallen fruit, chickens and ducks control pest insects, all fertilising as they go is one of the most explored areas.
Sophie Thomson 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.