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Behind the fence of Sydney’s Community Gardens

City of Sydney has graciously sponsored a series of Sydney Community Garden tours, which is a fantastic opportunity to learn and get inspired. My partner and I have been fortunate to join one of the groups on Sunday May 2, 2010.

How it all began…

The tour started with all of us meeting up at Greg Hewish Memorial Community Garden, located on the corner of Ogden Lane and Marriott Street in Redfern. As soon as we walked in, we felt a sense of order and strict alignment at this Community Garden. It utilises raised beds to cater to people with handicaps, and it is thoughtfully divided by graveled paths and brick walls.

Here we began our learning as well. First, we met Russ Grayson who fed us loads of useful information throughout the tour (this information is making its way slowly to this website). We walked around and took some photos, and shortly after loaded into a 21-seatter bus, sponsored by the City of Sydney.

Here we also met Annie Walker, who is the City of Sydney liaison on the subject of Community Gardens. She is wonderful and super pleasant to talk to, and I do believe this tour is largely her achievement. Thank you!

Bountiful harvest

Tomato bunch
The rising sun of Basel

How it continued…

Our first travel destination (after Gred Hewish Gardens) was Angel Street Permaculture Garden on the corner of Angel St and Harold St. As the bus pulled up to what looked like a huge jungle behind a wire fence, we saw a woman sweeping the street outside. We greeted her as we passed, and proceeded inside. As we walked in, there was a noticeable contract to the orderly beds of Greg Hewish garden. This one truly felt like a jungle, with little evidence of human hand other than occasional pots and structures.

Angel Street Permaculture Garden is one of the older gardens, established in 1991. Situated on a 1 hectare property behind Newtown Public School, it attracts people of all different ages and trades.

We even heard that people come to visit Angel Street Garden all the way from Cuba!

Pawpaw (Carica papaya)

This beauty is Pawpaw (Carica papaya). Originating from Central America, it produces edible fruit ripe when yellow, though the unripe green fruit is shredded and eaten raw in salads. Paste made from pawpaw used to treat some skin conditions.

It is of tropical origin and is grown into warm temperate climates like Sydney.  It needs warm, sheltered microclimate away from strong, cold winds of winter. Needs male and female trees to fruit.

they even have Aquaculture!!
Golden orb spider. You DON'T want to squish it!
Russ Grayson demonstrating how to use Lemongrass
Japanese raisins! They taste just like sweet apples, but look really strange..

Third stop is the charm

Glover’s Community Garden, first Community Garden in Sydney, was the real highlight of the tour. We fell in love with it instantly. Even before we went inside, we could feel the true abundance and buzzing life of this garden. We were greeted by happy chooks and pumpkins running up the fence, and a spunky puppy running up and down the path.

A distinctive feature of Glover’s Gardens is its diversity of plants. In addition to regular vegetables, there were Cofreys and Nasturtiums popping up everywhere. The garden leader said that she is finally able to grow broccoli (without any chemicals, of course), which she could never do before.

Learn about beneficial plants for your garden

Pumpkin climbing the fence in fron of the chook house
Water drop on a leaf of Nasturtium
Happy garden resident
Magnificent sage
Incredibly healthy beetroot. No chemicals!
Water drop on Broccoli... amazingly not a singe hole from a caterpillar
Lablab aka "Poor Man's" Beans

Wrap up

The final destination was Glebe Community Garden at 132 St Johns Road, Glebe NSW 2037. This place is especially dear to me since I am a member of this Garden. Here, Carlo demonstrated the rare and unique plants to the eager visitors, and described the irrigation system that the garden utilizes.

Well, see you on Saturday Carlo, for our usual working bee!

Exotic artichoke... no wait, it's Cardoon!
Rose bush over eggplant
Eggplant flower

6 replies on “Behind the fence of Sydney’s Community Gardens”

We want to start a community garden in an almost 8 acre mostly unused Council park….we have a high incidence of vandalism & crime but the Council won`t let us erect any fencing or have any relocatable structures,such as a shipping container (we are being given all the tools & equipment for free by a major hardware company,& need to secure them),or a relocatable building (for varied uses)……the Council demolished the toilet block(because it was used for shooting up) & concreted it over,& the playground equipment was continually vandalised so Council stopped repairing it…..This is in Taree….are there any Council parks where security fencing,& relocatable structures are allowed….we need help.

Thanks Russ. It was such pleasure meeting you!! I am still going through all the resources you shared, and I look forward to seeing you again soon :).

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