Growing, making and mending

November 27, 2021 BY

Next chapter: Sonya Macdonald is promoting sustainable living through her new business, having retired from repair and conservation bookbinding. Photos: EDWINA WILLIAMS

WHEN a beginner green-thumb starts gardening or food growing, all they need to get going is a dibber tool and pair of boots.

This concept has inspired the launch of five-week-old Napoleons business, Dibber & Boots, based in the town’s historic 1914 former school house.

A passion project of former book binder Sonya Macdonald, the retail shop for level-zero food-growers and general gardeners is all about sustainable low and no-waste living.

Dibber & Boots stocks small and large-sized garden tools designed for people of abilities to use, a “smattering” of vintage and kitchen pieces, Australian environment and garden books, wooden puzzles, and general horticulture supplies.

Dibber & Boots offer their own uniquely Australian, traditional steel boot jacks that have been made and designed locally. Photo: SUPPLIED

“Everything that’s new here is hand-picked for a specific need, there’s no full ranges of anything, and the business has been built based on the notions of grow, make, mend,” Mrs Macdonald said.

“We have tools that can be repaired, not replaced, and we don’t have packaging wherever we can avoid it.

“The key for us is to buy once and repair. If you must buy, buy once and make it count, or go without.”

With the support of her specialist pruner husband, Nick, who can also offer advice and services to customers, Mrs Macdonald’s mission is to keep people of all ages engaged with their green spaces for as long as possible, regardless of their circumstances, abilities, garden size, strength, mobility, or experience.

Mrs Macdonald sells some kitchen pieces from brands including Mason Cash.

“We want people to do as much themselves as possible, and then bring us in to assist them,” she said.

Over recent weeks, Dibber & Boots has welcomed lots of customers; couples, friends catching up, and even former students of the old Napoleons Primary School, checking out the building in its freshened 2021 state.

Mrs Macdonald has plenty of chairs available for those that would like to come in for a browse, a sit, and a chat about gardening, and puts seats outside when the weather is fine.

Dibber & Boots may potentially host community groups with similar sustainable values in the new year, and can provide specialist gardening advice for the unique Ballarat climate.

It is open Thursday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm, or by phone any weekday within the same timeframe. The shop is open by appointment Monday to Wednesday.