Home' The Great Southern Star : August 23rd 2016 Contents PAGE 28 - “THE STAR” Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Backyard Bl tz
Enjoy your great
outdoors this winter
Enjoy your great
outdoors this winter
By Lynda Carroll
WITH sun streaming through and a blue
sky above, there really is no better place
to be than the Leongatha Community
Tucked away down the end of a court, part of the
Community College Gippsland complex, the garden
delights with its expanse and variety.
The garden is a great mix of social interaction
and communal growth. It encompasses everything
from fruit and vegetables to native vegetation and
chickens; and it appeals to all ages, as the cheerful
playground area in one corner testifies.
Garden unites Leongatha
Members are welcome and involved, taking in
everyone from junior enthusiasts to family groups.
Individual vegetable plots are a feature, giving a
neatly embroidered detail throughout the garden.
Beyond the garden, in the meeting room facility
that sits quietly back from the stretches of growing
area around it, there is a buzz of activity.
It could be any day of the week; but most particu-
larly the weekends. This is when workshops take place,
ranging across everything from native plant propaga-
tion and food growing to the burgeoning cooking
classes, taking in the full menu of possibilities from
preserving and pickling to cooking handmade pasta.
This success means ongoing expansion and
improvement is needed. The current facilities are
shaped from enthusiastic donations, and now stools,
a microwave and extractor fan are on the agenda.
Donations and creations are an extremely strong
part of the garden’s life, from the stunning picnic
table to the font like bird baths. The mould for the
latter has been loaned, with more bird baths in the
planning as a fundraising activity.
All sorts of people come to the garden, all sorts of
people contribute to the garden, and all sorts of people
love the garden. It is a setting for those participating in
the work for the dole program, many of whom retain
their volunteer status past formal connections.
Yooralla students take good care of the chickens,
and the Leongatha Horticultural Society has started
propagating at the site. Volunteers maintain genera-
tion of the compost beds, and the poly house has hy-
droponics in it, full of flourishing berries.
Hopes are held for establishment of a mushroom
growing site in the future, and aspirations are also
held for the entire facility to ultimately become a
community Landcare group.
Native vegetation is a mainstay of the garden,
and serves multiple purposes besides providing vi-
sual interest. While some natives have found the
South Gippsland ground a little damp for their lik-
ing, others have grown with a vengeance.
Native plants and flowers attract birds and bees,
creating a healthier ecosystem right through the gar-
den and surrounds.
The Leongatha Community Garden is also inter-
twined with a number of other organisations. Many
of those who help out in the garden also head to the
local hospital, where the landscaping is a highlight.
On Thursdays, produce from the garden finds its
way to a small market stall at the hospital, where the
freshness is appreciated by customers.
Vegetables are also supplied for the Salvation
Army’s Foodbank and to St Vincent De Paul.
Even in the depths of winter, the garden is a place
of busy serenity. Asked his favourite time of the year
there, Tim Howard – health promotion officer from
Gippsland Southern Health Service, and a mainstay
of the garden community – said, “
It’d have to be late summer. You have a glut of
all sorts of vegies, and there’s a table on the veran-
dah which we started at the end of last summer. It’s
called the share table, and growers from outside and
our own growers who had excess produce brought
their own items in and put them on the share table.
“People started to come down and have a look
and share the produce. We want to maintain that. It
works especially well at the end of summer when
everyone has got a thousand tomatoes!’
With that, Tim is back out in the garden. Nets
are being placed across some of the beautiful raised
beds, nasturtiums sprawl nearby, and a small bird
flits into the pink teatree flowers, their open faces
waving cheerfully over the front fence.
The garden’s new committee is president Tim
Howard, vice president Rogan Rhind, secretary/
treasurer Vivian Carroll and committee members
Scott Cameron, Melissa Bourke, Dick Lester, Shir-
ley Egan, Gary Beard, Vanessa Holness, Yooralla
representative Tracel Devereux, CCG representative
and a representative of the culinary group, Cheryl
Lamb, Janica Nichols and Kerrie Baker.
Outgoing president Dick Lester was acknowl-
edged by Tim for his enormous contribution to the
garden and the development of the facility and the
partnerships that have been strengthened during
Dick’s time as president.
Delightful setting: Peter Griffiths, a mainstay at the Leongatha Community Garden, enjoys
the popular place.
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