Community gardens are flourishing throughout the state. So don’t be a couch potato – grab a spade and head out to meet your local network of green thumbs who might teach you a thing or two.
Community gardens: Reap what you sow
AN ENTERTAINING PLOT
The philosophy at Glenelg North Community Garden is all about community, sustainability and food. At the corner of Kibby Avenue and Alison Street, the site was established in 2012 with the intention to last for decades. The inclusive community garden incorporates education, sustainability, heritage, community resilience, and organic horticulture. Workshops and masterclasses are often held and messages are spread via the garden’s social media channels. Volunteers will host an open day on Sunday, September 15.
GROWING A HEALTHY COMMUNITY
The community garden at Aldinga Community Centre is bursting with colour; seasonal fruit trees stand tall above brightly-painted raised plant beds with an abundance of fresh vegetables and herbs. The organic garden is supported by the City of Onkaparinga and cared for by 12 volunteers. Everyone is welcome and many community groups and schools frequently visit. The produce is donated to the centre’s kitchen and Fred’s Van, and healthy cooking programs and gardening workshops are held throughout the year. The garden is located at 7 Stewart Avenue, Aldinga Beach and is open 8.30am until noon every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (excluding public holidays), and the first Saturday of the month.
PRODUCING THE GOODS AT GLANDORE
A hidden suburban gem, the Glandore Community Garden is open to the public on Tuesday mornings, when volunteers welcome visitors and are happy to talk about what they have on the go. Established in 2005, the garden has 24 plots leased by members of the community. Produce is shared and the wood-fired pizza oven is a hit during community events. Gardeners such as Sandra Grindlay (pictured) are keen to receive donations of cuttings to propagate and sell to raise money for the garden’s upkeep.
WATER-WISE AT HENLEY
Located near the Henley Memorial Oval, Henley Community Garden welcomes expressions of interest for new members. Gardeners practice organic and sustainable principles but, as there is no mains water or power, the site relies on innovative water-wise solutions such as shaded wicking beds, with solar panels for their modest power needs. Although only seven years old, the garden is a busy site with more than 60 garden beds as well as fruit trees, bee hives, chickens and a children’s nature play-space, all organised and run by local volunteers. The garden promotes a safe, attractive, happy and productive space within the local community.
Joe’s Connected Garden at Elizabeth East is a community garden with a difference. There are eight adjacent gardens linked by gates, growing more than 500 varieties of fruit, herbs and vegetables. Several gardens are open to the public through Open Gardens SA each February. As well as temperate-climate produce, the gardeners have an interest in crops including mangoes, bananas and avocados. Community involvement extends beyond the gardens, with many volunteers going along to help out. Joe’s Connected Garden is engaged with the local school and runs workshops on edible gardening, with an active social media presence.
FRIENDLY VEGGIE GARDENERS
In 2010, the City of Norwood Payneham and St Peters approved the development of a community garden on the former artificial bowling green at Linde Reserve, Stepney. Today, the Linde Community Garden is a beautifully-maintained hub of gardening activity, where members grow organic fruit and vegetables and learn skills from other like-minded people. It is a model for good environmental practice, demonstrating ways to save water, reduce waste and promote biodiversity. The next major project will be the construction of a work shed and office, with funding provided by the St Peters Rotary Club.
DIGGING IN AT DUCK FLAT
Tucked in behind the Mount Barker District Soldiers Memorial Hospital, the Duck Flat Community Garden is a hive of activity for its many enthusiastic volunteers. The collaborative and productive green space is an initiative of the Adelaide Hills Community Health Service. Local community members are welcome to have a go at getting their hands dirty and learning about creating a productive garden.
MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK
Located at Littlehampton, the Gum Tree Community Garden opens its gates to anyone in the local community. With plenty of space and nature to enjoy, dog walkers are allowed as long as they don’t bother the sheep next door. Much care and effort goes into sustaining a healthy garden, and the Gum Tree group has a job for everyone as “many hands make light work”. The governing principles are to share, be selfless, try to give back to the garden, and be nice.
BUSY BEES AT MURRAY BRIDGE
This community garden at Murray Bridge is a beautiful and welcoming shared space where people can sit, relax, participate and chat. The garden boasts fruit, vegetables, herbs, flowers, natives, ornamental plants and even a pizza oven. All fresh produce is made available for purchase and excess produce is given to those in need. The Murray Bridge Community Centre Garden continues to evolve and develop thanks to the dedication and commitment of an amazing team of volunteers.
HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?
The Robe Community Garden was established in an unused portion of a local playground early last year. The garden has proven to be popular as a socially-inclusive meeting place for both young and old, with the most senior member still actively sharing his extensive knowledge with others at the age of 97. Gardeners have enjoyed the company of local kindergarten students, who were involved in planting veggies and flower seeds in the raised garden beds. The giant pumpkin competition held at Easter was a roaring success.
A COMMUNITY OASIS
Established in 2014 adjacent to Trott Park Neighbourhood Centre, the Trott Park Community Garden has proven a popular space for local green thumbs. Members are currently in the process of adding an additional six plots to the current 20 garden spaces which are leased to the community. The garden includes an orchard with oranges, mandarins, apples, peaches, guava and plums, while a barbecue provides a social gathering space.
Walyu Yarta community garden was the first in Adelaide’s Park Lands. It was started in 2010 after much lobbying by south west residents of the city council area. Walyu Yarta is located in Veale Gardens on South Terrace and is open to all who would like to grow vegetables, herbs and flowers. Sharing of produce is encouraged. A plot is devoted to potatoes that the homeless can cook on nearby barbecues. Local apartment dwellers along South Terrace bring down their kitchen scraps for the compost bins, and international students work in the garden to practise their conversational English. Gilles Street Primary School students are regular visitors.
PUTTING DOWN ROOTS
Established in 2017 at the site of an old kindergarten, the Woodville West Community Garden is really taking shape. With a nearby community of newly-built townhouses, this sprouting garden has many opportunities for new members and is particularly attractive for those without access to a garden of their own. Production of fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables is ramping up, and there are even about a dozen chooks in residence. With aims to establish a cooperative permaculture garden that fosters knowledge and skills around food production, the space has a bright future in the hands of passionate local people.
This story first appeared in the July 2019 issue of SALIFE Magazine.