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 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.
With over 35 years hands on experience, Sophie now believes that aside from the obvious environmental benefits, gardening improves our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing as well as that of the broader community.
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.
Sophie has continued to light up the screen on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia with her infectious enthusiasm for more than 14 years with the show recently receiving the 2019 Logie as Most Popular Lifestyle Show in its 30th year on air.
As well as writing for the popular Gardening Australia magazine and other publications, Sophie writes the weekly gardening column for the Adelaide Sunday Mail and the Weekender Herald. She is also heard weekly on talk-back radio with ABC Radio Adelaide.
Sophie’s first book From the Ground Up – a complete guide for South Australian Gardeners 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.
In early 2018 Sophie released her national best selling book “Sophies Patch” which tracks her journey from what was once a dry windswept cow paddock surrounding an historic stone cottage into a lush “working garden”.
Sophie lives at Sophie’s Patch – a three-acre property in the Adelaide Hills, with husband Richard, five children under 18 and a menagerie of animals. Over the last eight 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.
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 has also been invited to speak at TEDx in Adelaide.
Sophie is known for her resilience, environmental outlook, infectious enthusiasm, vitality and love of sustainable gardening.
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”.
Twice a year during spring and autumn Sophie opens her Sophie’s Patch garden to thousands of visitors who come to experience and learn from 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.