Have we been to your garden?

Camden Park House - Photographic Journey,

 dont forget the Open Day later in the year

The main facade of Camden Park House.

This Wisteria covers the old orchid house.
Colin Mills, one of the many volunteers giving his time to the assembled masses.
Espalliered apple trees.

Lakemba Community Garden - Jubilee Reserve

Lakemba Community Garden is run by Canterbury City Community Centre just behind Jubilee Reserve on Railway Parade Lakemba, unique in that it draws from residents who live within a 750sq m raduis of the gardens, with alot of medium density housing in the area it has certainly been popular amongst the locals in the area.

The gardens have many great features and are suited to people of all ability, beds have been modified in their design to specifically cater to people with a disability and specifically wheelchair access, learning through workshops is encouraged as is the connection with other like minded gardeners and the various resources available.
Attendance of workshops is a must and 3 are run in order to maintain a knowledge base and encourage organic gardening practises, should you wish to find out more about this garden contact Liz Messih at Canterbury City Community Centre on 97406332

Chinese Market Gardens - Bestic/West Botany Street - Sydney

View From Bestic St

Next time you find yourself near Sydney airport or Brighton Le Sands, why not take a short detour down D5, its signposted and when the M5 is out of action you will drive this detour.

Simply turn right into Bestic Street, about 200m on your right you will find a little enclave of chinese vegetable gardens. These market gardens are also known by 4 other names, Kyeemagh Market Gardens, Occupation Rd Market Gardens, Rockdale Market Gardens and Chinese Market Gardens, they have been supplying vegetables since 1892, first established by the europeans but then taken on by Chinese settlers, the gardens are bounded by the Cooks River, Bestic Street and Occupation Rd.
Shallots and more shallots

Workers tending the gardens

There is an assortment of vegetables and herbs grown here and its well worth a detour to have a look. Not quite a small community garden, but certainly a small community of gardeners passionate and making a living for over a hundred years within 5 minutes of Sydney Airport.

Whites Creek Community Garden - Lilyfield

One of the old Dairy buildings.

View back up to Community Centre
Whites Creek Community Garden recently hosted a meeting of the City Farms and Community Gardens Network, it was a great chance to have a look around this garden close to the city CBD, gardeners from across and outside the Sydney basin attended, at this stage a tentative gathering is slated for feb 2012, rumoured to be Randwick 
Whites Creek like all Community Gardens has an active group of gardens growing a myriad of different species in numerous plots but is restricted in size, hopefully this will become resolved soon with a possible expansion into an adjoing block owned by local council. We will endeavour to keep you updated. watch this space 

Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney - Herb Garden

Herb garden looking south
If you are looking for a great herb garden, look no further than the RBG Syd, here are just a couple of photos taken during a recent visit.

Looking south along the herb gardens, there are mass plantings of Echinacea, sage, tumeric, lemon grass and comphrey to name but a few, if you are anywhere near the city its a great spot to stop in and see.

 A somewhat mild/wet summer has seen some prolific growth in all the gardens out there and the Botanic Gardens Sydney certainly haven't missed out either. Come winter alot of the tropicals will die off but come spring watch the likes of the gingers come to life.

Paddington Community Garden

Hidden away at the back of Paddo Bowling Club you will find Paddington Community Garden, below you will find a selection of photos taken on a beautiful autumn day in April 2012

On a cross city trip a few weeks ago i thought i would go insearch of this great little garden, and what a true gem it is, situated on the site of an old garbage dump the site was capped by council before blossoming into its current form and is now a thriving ecosystem, embracing no dig gardens, composting, worm farms, organic principles and permaculture practises.

View towards bowling club.
During the visit i had the pleasure of someone whom seemed to be part of the furniture in this garden, i have to admit disturbing him from his toil, after catching his attention high up on the neiggbouring escarpment Joe came down and greeted me explaining the growth of the garden, something i too end up doing more often than not.

Rotunda above the tennis courts.

Joe explained that the gardens were no dig because of the previous land use, the beds are built up with railway sleepers and layered according to no dig principles, the gardens have individual and group plots, there is a composting section, being situated close to randwick and numerous stables a reliable source of manure isnt a problem and several local businesses and residents supply greenwaste which supplements the compost bins and worm farms.

Rainwater collection off the Rotunda

The Rotunda built with the help of members/volunteers and donations gives the perfect respite from the blazing summer sun and shelter from the drenching summer rains :), this valuable water supply doesnt dissappear into the sub layers either it is also harvested and used in the gardens.  

 Being relatively sheltered from the elements the gardens are a veritable microcosm of plants growing everything from paw paws to pandan, gingers, lemongrass and eggplants to name but a few. If you would like more info you can contact Paddington Community Garden via their website here.

Riverwood Community Gardens

Bananas at Riverwood
Rainwater collection and storage

Add caption
Riverwood community Garden is situated on Belmore Rd, at the northern end, tucked in behind Riverwood Community Centre and next to Riverwood public housing project, the gardens are attended by about 50 gardeners and they coordinated through Riverwood Community Centre. There is a sizeable waitlist and gardeners must be in riverwood public housing.

Its always good to visit other gardens and see whats growing, Riverwood is no different, we don't see too many bananas growing around Camden, but they are one thing you will see growing around Riverwood, numerous other curious vegetables are growing, some of which we also hope to grow purely so people can see the diversity of produce that is being grown in their community.

Bok Choy and other asian greens

Yandina Community Garden

Overview of site
If you are visiting the sunshine coast why not pop into Yandina Community Garden,

Front of blue house, solar panels evident.

An excellent garden in the middle of town with so much to take in, situated over a housing block and operating as an education facility as well it is a great venue to explore follow this link Yandina Community Gardens, this garden includes an operating aquaculture set up, worm farms, chooks, rainwater collection, solar hot water and permacuture education.
Compost bins making re-use of resources

Yandinas aquaculture setup

Manly Vale  Community Garden

Manly Vale Community Garden
Sunday June 3rd saw the Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network quarterly meeting hosted by Manly Vale Community Garden.

Despite the less than favourable weather conditions gardeners were not deterred. It was great to see how the site has come along since early 2010, the gardens are located at 4 - 8 Innes Road, Manly Vale. Warringah Council has constructed a playground on site, both the Gardens and the council are responsible for maintanence of areas with the site.

The gardens contain a great rotunda used for community and garden events as well as storage for the gardens, a greenhouse used for propagation and cultivation of produce, rainwater is also collected from the rotunda. The garden operates with organic principles.

Raised beds in use
Raised beds as pictured (left) are the main style of bed used although there are several other communial areas under cultivation with various crops . This site like many gardens is a valuable resource and many partnerships have been formed, one such partner is a local coffee roaster whos waste product would normally go to landfill, this bran/husk material comes in a pelletised form and is used in the gardens compost systems and beds, nearby households are able to leave the likes of vegetable scraps in a compost bin near the footpath.

Aerobin Composters

Railway sleepers providing a great fence for berries

 The recent meeting was also a good chance to exchange info amongst the various gardens represented, which included Randwick Organic Community Garden, Camden Community Garden, Bundeena Community Garden and Manly Vale to name but a few. To Find out more information about Manly Vale Community Garden check out their website here.

Port Kembla Community Garden

On a recent visit to Port Kembla, (the industrial hub of Wollongong) i got the chance to visit the local community garden and see progress being made by local residents and not just in the garden.

The garden itself is set behind and around the Port Kembla Community Centre and managed by a very enthusiastic group of individuals, and i have to thank Cheryl for the guided tour. The project engages many peopl and groups from the local area and is a testament to the work being done by workers and volunteers alike.

The garden itself was once an univiting courtyard viewed through the bars of the community centre, although the bars may still be there, they now melt into the tropical oasis that lies beyond, now banana trees, paw paws, cardamom and lemon grass are but a few of the plants now thriving.

Local Port Kembla bananas ripening in the sun (left of picture), and they taste good as well, thanks Cheryl.

A totem being carved by local volunteers

Wandering a little further away from the Community Centre and just down the hill you will find a small laneway transformed into a veritable food forest, once neglected and overgrown and occasionaly mown, it now provides a valuable supply of food for locals and Fauna , again maintained by local volunteers and residents this shows the true power of community when like minds come together.

Its worth taking 15 - 20 mins just to wander down the laneway and see what work has been done by everyone in this little pocket of land that was once forgotten. So next time you are passing, DON'T, make sure you stop in to Port Kembla and have a look around, what was once and still is in some respect an industrial hub for the south coast is and has been changing over the past few years. What seems to have a grey exterior has a green heart and will only continue to get greener with the initiatives being developed in the region. Congrats to everyone concerned and job well done

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