Sophie Thomson’s enduring love affair with gardening stems from growing up in the family nursery in the Adelaide Hills and has led to her becoming a national figure in the environmental arena actively promoting the benefits of gardening.
Known for her strong beliefs, resilience, vitality and love of sustainable gardening, Sophie describes herself as the “Commonsense Gardener” who, were it not for the demands of her career and family, could spend every day in the garden.
Seen most weeks on the ABC TV’s Gardening Australia program for over 15 years, her infectious enthusiasm for all things horticulture continues to inspire people of all ages. As a popular national public speaker, TEDx presenter, author, weekly newspaper columnist and talkback radio presenter, she enjoys the opportunities working in the media give her to connect with people from different walks of life.
Sophie’s first award winning book From the Ground Up was a complete guide for South Australian gardeners and her most recently released one, Sophie’s Patch, a national best seller.
Sophie consults to a wide variety of gardens ranging from smaller ones to those at Government House.
She is passionate about the role gardening can play in people’s lives to improve both their mental and physical wellbeing and relishes her opportunities to publicly address these issues. With people experiencing and dealing with recent natural disasters such as a pandemic, fires, drought and flood, Sophie continues to draw on her experience and expertise to support community wellbeing through projects such as the Kangaroo Island bushfire reGrowth Garden Recovery community gardens.
Her annual themed garden displays at the Royal Adelaide Show highlight her strong environmental concerns and a recent one highlighted the importance of bees showing practical ways to create a bee friendly garden. Another recent project with expert Dr Katja Hogendoorn focuses on increasing public awareness of native bees. Sophie designed and constructed native bee habitat or ‘Native Bee BnBs’ with eight local councils along Adelaide’s iconic River Torrens, from the Hills to the sea.
Sophie is patron of tje Beekeeper’s Society of SA, Duck Flat Community Garden, Friends of Waite Arboretum and the Cactus and Succulent Society of SA. In addition she is an Ambassador for Nature Play SA, a TREENET Advisory Board Member and a Smart Approved WaterMark Expert Panel member.
She lives at Sophie’s Patch – a three-acre property in the Adelaide Hills, with her husband and five teenagers, plus an assortment of animals. Over the last nine 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 120 fruit and nut trees, and what she hopes one day will be a breathtaking, climate compatible ornamental garden. Her bi-annual Open Gardens attract thousands of visitors each year.