- Do you have a green thumb, love the outdoors, and enjoy the company of others?
- Come and join the Star of the Sea Retirement Village Gardening Group!
- The residents’ goal is to make a difference to the village using their different skills and passions.
- Gardening is a great leveller and is accessible in some form to all.
What is the gardening group?
Three years ago, residents recognised the unharnessed energy of some keen gardeners living in the village, which boasts extensive grounds and communal gardens.
Believing that these areas could be used in a more beneficial way, in early 2020 six residents started a gardening focus group.
Due to COVID-19, activities went into a holding pattern with just two residents able to work. However, now there are 12 members and they are making up for lost time.
The residents have formed a unified and cohesive group with the goal of making a difference to the village using their different skills and passions.
What activities does the group do?
Lesley Stewart, one of the group’s founders said “we look forward to coming together on a Friday morning. The timetable is structured from 9am to noon, however, this time frame has become elastic with some arriving early and others reluctantly leaving a 1pm. We’re keen!”
Over time new innovations have been introduced, a large compost heap, which is turned and watered weekly, and an unused shredding machine, which processes the pruning accumulated during the maintenance of the gardens. The resulting product is then spread over garden beds as mulch.
“It is a win-win as very little is sent off site as waste,” says Lesley.
While the orchard, a 2020 winter project, is not yet bearing fruit, the team are optimistic of a crop in a year or two. This is situated on what was under-utilised ground abutting a visitor carpark. A green manure crop was initially planted to improve the ground, followed by fruit trees, a selection of herbs and perennials. They are now watching the bush pumpkins form and hoping the tomatoes ripen.
The group’s tea breaks provide ‘fertile ground’ for discussion of new ideas, including the introduction of a seasonal plant stall, offering potted plants for gold coin donation.
Their first effort was well supported by village residents and netted a total of $100 which was matched by VMCH. This money will be used to purchase garden tools to continue their work.
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Why get involved?
Lesley says gardening is a multi-faceted pursuit offering many rewards, particularly in difficult and worrying times.
“Gardening is a great leveller and is accessible in some form to all. A pot of annuals or flowering bulbs, herbs or simply lettuce is an attainable goal. There are challenges, but then there are rewards.”
How can I get involved?
For more information about Star of the Sea Retirement Village, contact our friendly team on (03) 5264 3500.