Friday, October 16, 2009

growing ideas

Both images are of thriving community gardens in Newcastle, taken several months ago

Its great to see so much activity happening around the revival of growing our own food in our communities, and not just in our own backyards. Artists have long celebrated the garden and table, shared plates and conversation---frequently in their art as well as in life. When visiting friends in Newcastle several months ago I loved seeing all the permaculture gardens being planned or well underway in friend's backyards. The 2 images above however are from community initiatives that are open to all to visit and work in.
I went with friends Will and Maureen to the Wickham community garden (pictured at top) one grey and chilly Sunday. Everyone was very welcoming and the wood-fired oven was turning out fabulous pizza for volunteers to lunch on. This was very pleasant...all the greens of course straight from the garden. Not only was the garden lush and well cared for, but it was a most visually pleasing environment in an area that is a little bereft of lush gardens all around. It is however next to a large park full of magnificent trees where a market takes place weekly I think. There were children playing in and around the garden, some in a purpose built playground, others digging and planting or talking to the chooks! 
That evening over at the house of other friends I was taken on a walk in the dark with 3 generations of this family...all of us carrying the local community garden to pick our salad for dinner. That slight drizzle of rain only added to the anticipation of enjoying such a fresh salad. Jen (in the second photo) dressed in coat, hat and umbrella proudly showed me this delightful garden in a rather prominant place that is being nutured by locals and remains untouched by interlopers even though it s not gated or fenced off and is close to the ocean and areas that draw large crowds constantly.

I thought I would add this link below to a local Brisbane initiative  ECOBOTANICA by Linda Brennan. She is conducting workshops in Brisbane at the Roma St Parklands in the midst of the CBD and also at the Mt Coo-Tha Botanical Gardens focusing on the requirements of this  this particular sub-tropical climate. Linda also designs and implements food and herb gardens for homes and - something I think is a brilliant initiative - for workplaces. A friend Chrissy sent me this link this morning and I thought it well worth sharing! Ecobotanica's website is under construction but if you click here  it will lead you to the site and to the excellent brochure full of workshops. Linda Brennan is currently president of the Qld branch of the Australian Institute of Horticulture. Her workshops on growing fruit for the local sub-tropical climate sound particularly interesting and are based at the Botanical Gardens. I did like the idea of the workshop 'Thai garden for busy cooks " though! I'm very keen on the herbs one associates with the cooking of South East Asia.


janis said...

This is inspiring as I am greening up our frontyard. My intention is to turn it into an herb garden because it suits our climate and drought conditions. I am thrilled in anticipation of lavender, rosemary, and thyme plants blooming come spring...and a new place to plant some veggies as well %^) Thanks for the green garden post!

Sophie Munns said...

Its a pleasure to pass on things of inspiration to you janis - so often you are the one inspiring me. Loved your gorgeous illustration from your kitchen just posted...and the squirrel story!

Dragonfly said...

The gardens look wonderful. I've just started a vege garden, and so has a friend. We've decided to each concentrate on a selection of items and share our produce!! I look forward to my first home-grown meal!!
Thanks for the links!

Sophie Munns said...

That is a very smart idea Karen. Double the rewards for effort expended!
Let me know if you ever go to one of the Roma St parkland workshops!
Thanks for the comments,