The day begins the day before, when Franklin and Michael pick up and drop off a canopy from Bendigo bank. The weather has been fine, but its good to have some more undercover options just in case! A little before 10am volunteers begin to arrive setting up for the day.
Lloyd brings impressive seedlings, sales begin at 11am; including mints of all kinds, interesting and unusual lavenders as well as cape gooseberries, yum. Seeds saved and packaged up by Sue and me include feverfew, spinach, warrigal greens, oca, purple congo potatoes and echinacea, many of which are lovely plants to have in the garden, as well as tasty or useful. The sale is popular and makes up about 1/4 of our fundraising total for the day!
A shade after 12, Michael Byrt starts us off with guided tour through the regeneration work in our little winding creek. This innovative long term project was kicked off by Eric Mahony at Blue Mountains City Council. Volunteers have been trained in hard and soft engineering techniques and its they who continue this work, its a pilot project, and by the looks of it a successful one. Michael’s been working with the upper section of the creek for the last six months ‘I’ve had the energy to give it for that time, I did want to work on sculpture but Fred said the work needed doing on the creek’. Now he’s a passionate advocate for community getting together to build on the council’s foundation work. “This is all of ours” he reminds the touring group.
Geotextiles are incorporated into the job into which our local bushcare group then plants like the native blechnum that we planted just yesterday. Further down the creek the channel is wide, the water is clear and runs gently, slowly into the next section where no work has been started. There’s a stark contrast here, on one side of the bridge, a vision of a summer’s day, with trickling brook, the other is a tangle of blackberry and a deep channel where water rushes through silting up as it goes. “We work quickly” Michael says, perhaps by next year’s tour the whole creek will be opened out and slowed down.
Bra-skets and hot-shoes are just two of the containers Sue’s planting into, with decorative floral arrangement and chillis respectively. Out of the sun’s glare Sue demonstrates the delicate art of reusing almost any container (as long as you can get drainage in there you’re set!) into a productive growing space.
Hungry work all this walking, so Soup and Sourdough are next on the menu, a garden lunch favorite. Today there’s a choice of two soups, spicy pumpkin and creamy artichoke made with locally donated ingredients from the Blue Mountains Food Co-op, Katoomba Street Permaculture as well as sourdough supplier ‘Hominy‘. Supapon brings Chai into the mix and begins a tasting tour through some of the many apple varieties you can pick up at local suppliers LoganBrae. Pink Ladies, Braeburn, 20 Ounce and Aussie apple Granny Smith (oh yes, that’s an apple which was developed right here!) Sharing these lovely fruits, Supapon shares a thought
“There are 7500 apples grown around the world, how many do you see in the supermarket? Its our job to keep this diversity going”
So its apples for desert, and malus aforethought? (Sorry).
Segway after this leisurely lunch a ‘quick’ tour around most of the gardens, from Heritage apple walk, a little history about the labyrinth, a space used by meditators and performers alike. Next our latest addition the medicinal garden, inspired by local naturopath Kay Ridgway. Only three months in our small collection is thriving in a no dig raised circular bed with a cross of walkways, in previously unremarkable ground. We all try a pinch of cucumbery salad burnet and admire the bushy plants here with their various helpful healing habits. From there to the citrus grove, the willow in the water where local children are unphased by visitors and continue building a ‘house’ they’re quite proud of. I leave the tour as we return via the other side of the creek encountering a couple of the medieval reinactment group, who are retuning from IronFest with renewed sparring vigour. Not your average garden tour! Almost last stop and its over to the bush food and aboriginal garden and meeting circle. I’m gathering up a few things and starting to pack away when I see the tour has continued! back in the car park the new raised beds are full of greens to pick, and perhaps some picking is going on….
Thanks to everyone who volunteered and visited, you’re all helping to keep the garden growing for another year. I hope to see you at one of our volunteer sessions on Friday or Sunday mornings.