SBS Viva Radio Interview

 5th April, 2019

Tea is an essential part of everyday life for many Aussies. More than half of the over fifties drink nearly 11 cups a week on average. If you love your cuppa and like to garden, have you ever contemplated the idea of growing your own tea?

By Amy Chien-Yu Wang

File size 9.14

Duration 5 min 17 sec

Pia Dowling loves brewing her home-grown herbal tea every morning.

The leaves are freshly picked in an aromatic surrounding with frequent visitors of nature ranging from bees to butterflies and dried.

“I might have some German chamomile, lemongrass, mint, pineapple sage, whatever I’ve got I just put a pinch of each of these into the pot, then a large pinch of evaporated sea salt, organic raw sugar or honey and then I can use the brew to rehydrate myself during the day so you don’t get cramps at two in the morning!”

Pia has fine-tuned her tea-planting process into a book that describes how you can grow your own tea ‘Grow and Brew Your Own Organic Tea [Green & Herbal]’.

By using sustainable techniques it saves her time, cost and water without using chemicals.

The weather isn’t her main concern since she’s dug into different kinds of soil across various parts of Australia and New Zealand.

Her secret lies in the nutritious ‘viable’ soil made from recycled kitchen scraps and rainwater.

“It provides essential nutrients and moisture for plants, so your plants are going to be the most rigorous and healthy they can be so when you are extracting the leaves, stems, stalks and the flowers, they are going to be absolutely maximum maturation and you know…nutrients that your body is going to go ‘hoorah!’”

Tea plants can take between three to five years to reach maturity for harvesting.

Pia’s own experience shows you can speed up the process by following the right steps. She recommends creating ‘viable’ soil before starting to grow your tea plants.

“Your plants will grow magnificently within six to twelve months and you can brew your own tea.”

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Accessibility in the News (AITN) USA

8th February, 2019
By Jack McElane

Quote of the Week

“In small ways we can make a positive difference”

Pia Dowling

Image result for abc radio logoMaroochydore, Sunshine Coast, QLD Australia 


 30th August, 2018 
Interview with Annie Gaffney (Program Maker ABC Sunshine Coast) regarding the  ‘Common Scents Organic Gardening’ Presentation & Wokshop at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) Sippy Downs, Queensland, Australia on Saturday 1st September, 2018.




2nd December, 2017

In collaboration with Sunshine Coast Council Cr. Greg Rogerson

Today we’ve attended the launch of a new residential development at 198-218 Dulong Road.

The BIG news is Cr Rogerson announced the site of our Community Garden.  This will be the first public space within Dulong in 50 years (since Dulong State School closed from 27 August 1967).

The owners of the new development have gifted 1000m2 of their land for the Community Garden Project, including post and rail fencing.

We met Pia Dowling, recognised organic gardener and academic at USC who will be working with the Sunshine Coast Regional Council and the community, to support the development of a sustainable garden and educational workshops.


22nd October, 2016

International Competition to Identify an Issue/Problem ‘HUMANS & NATURE (Animals) and Invent a Solution.

Maroochydore Library Presentation ‘Workers & Warriors’ held on Saturday 22nd October 2016 from 10.30am to 12 noon, attended an after presentation meeting with Tristan, Amelia and Estelle (from Suncoast Christian College) to discuss their project titled ‘WIN-WIN-WIN for Insects, Humans and the Earth’.

First Lego League

Success with Organic Gardening Techniques

July & November 2016

Charles Marais Garden_IMG_1663  img_1839

                     PHOTO 1                                                                      PHOTO 2

PHOTO 1: “Composting food scraps result since Charles vital soil workshop with you Pia.  He has done ‘nothing’ else there except stake tomatoes up just since he retired early July. It just happened as I interrupted and indicated at your herbs session 30.7.16” (Lynda).

PHOTO 2:The latest harvest results from your excellent teaching Pia. Simply and only from where Charles has buried the kitchen scraps and then eventually having to re-tie up the vines there were so huge and so laden. Incredible 2.11.16″ (Lynda).

Worm farms, bush tucker some of sustainable living sessions

1st Mar 2016

IF YOU’RE passionate about making the world a better place, head to the free sustainable living information sessions at Sunshine Coast Council’s Libraries.

Workshops cover everything from worm farms to bush tucker and all will help the Sunshine Coast become Australia’s most sustainable region.

Sessions include:

Viable Soil Health
Throughout the month of March, you can join Pia Dowling, author of Common Scents Organic Gardening, and learn how to turn your garden into a haven for plants. This session delves deep into the chemical make-up of soil and gives you a close look at what’s really going on under the ground.



‘Soil Health for Garden Wealth’

‘The 4 Pillars for an Inspiring Organic Garden’ by Nancy Kent 
2nd September, 2015

In the Inspiration Garden, we prepare the soil using our specific composting method based on Pia Dowling’s book Common Scents Organic Gardening. 

The Inspiration Garden



25th July, 2015

“THANK YOU for visiting our garden Rod Harding (Mayoral candidate), Shayne Sutton (Local Council member) and Di Farmer (local State Member) and Pia Dowling my colleague and gardening buddy” (Nancy KENT, The Inspiration Garden Inc., July 25th 2015).

Inspiration Garden, Rod Harding, Shayne Sutton and Di Farmer


Queensland Writers’ Centre


‘Books from Our Backyard’ Launch 2014

– A Year of Books by Queensland Writers –

23rd July, 2015

State Libary of QLD

‘Stock the Pantry – Chemical Free Techniques that Prolong the Shelf Life of Food’. Available in paperback and e-book (Kindle) versions from

Queensland Writers’ Centre


1st July, 2014

Launch of ‘Books From Our Backyard’ 2013


Review by June Perkins, Author ‘After Yasi’

“It was amazing to be at the Poinciana Lounge, when it was  full to the brim of Queensland books, authors, family, friends and literary supporters; double the amount of last year too.

A big thankyou to Queensland Writers Centre for creating a catalogue of Queensland books which goes out to libraries and others to promote Queensland authors and books.

I met Pia Dowling who showed me her books on Organic Gardening, and growing and brewing your own coffee and tea”. 



 South Bank Brisbane, QLD Australia 

23rd February, 2013

“Pia Dowling introduced a new book on Organic/Sustainable Backyard Gardening complemented by insect displays” [Board of the Queensland Museum Annual Report 2012-13 Open Data].

A Presentation accompanying the Book Launch of the book ‘Common Scents Organic Gardening – Techniques for Creating and Maintaining a Sustainable Kitchen Garden’  held at the Queensland Museum, South Bank Brisbane Australia on 23rd February 2013 exceeded expectations.

Colour photographs of some the one hundred species of garden insects, reptiles, spiders and birds as well as some of the fruit, vegetables and herbs in flower were also on display.”

Common Scents book launch

I wish to thank all who attended including acknowledgement of the following:

  • The Queensland Museum
  • University of Queensland Press, Print on Demand (POD) Centre
  • ABC Radio 612 Brisbane (announcing the event)
  • Queensland Writers Centre (QWC)
  • Brisbane Organic Growers Inc (BOGI)

Garden Drum – beating a new path

 New book explores the plants & insects of SE Queensland

Arno KingArno King  12th February, 2013

Common Scents book launch

“Common Scent Organic Gardening is a new book full of beautiful images of the plants and insects of SE Qld. Author Pia Dowling is a keen organic gardener with a wealth of experience and passion for growing food in her 150sqm garden and the Qld museum has helped to identify the insects Pia has found there.

The book will be launched at the Qld Museum South Bank on Saturday February 23, 2013 from 10 am to 12 noon. Common Scent Organic Gardening is especially interesting for South East Queensland gardeners as very few (if any) other books have information on local garden insects”.

About Arno King

Landscape architect, horticulturist, journalist and keen gardener, Arno is a regular contributor to Subtropical Gardening Magazine. Based in Brisbane, Arno grows a wide diversity of unusual plant species and has particular interests in growing edible plants in creative settings and biological and organic gardening. Brisbane, Queensland