Growing up at Deniliquin on a farm and in a family of long farming linage, doesn’t leave you. This experience has certainly set up my commitment to the community where my family now lives in regional NSW. It has been gardening and growing food that has been the link through the various phases of my life to date and brings me to this point now. I took a leap and self published a monthly garden guide and it has been an amazing ride so far!
Like so many women I stepped sidewise when I had my children. It closed and opened doors and when I had the chance to present some gardening workshops for a Landcare group I was very excited. I had had time to accumulate new ideas, skills and understanding that I was keen to share. One of these ideas was the monthly garden guide. In its original form it was a collage of pictures and activities photocopied and bound just for friends and family. I used this guide myself and refined it over 15years to suit our local climate. It became my most important gardening tool and it was through sharing this concept that I was encouraged to take it to another level. To write the history of how this guide came about I hope reads like a smooth and simple process. Like all ideas though, this also require a load of courage and work.
It is thanks to the community in which I live that helped this project move forward. This is what I love about living where we do and about the connections to a community in which you live. We are on the edge of the major regional centre of Albury Wodonga. Although most close neighbours aren’t large scale food growers there is a shared respect for those that do. My kids go to the local small school and through this community I found my partners and support network for publishing the garden guide. I would not have taken the leap if it wasn’t for them and creating the guide was actually a joy.
Gardening is not just an activity to me. I love that the idea of “gardening” might give a sense of simplicity, goodness and joy. I did train as a horticulturalist and I couldn’t believe my luck when I found this qualification. I have been able to work with a huge diversity of people and professions. I have been a seed collector of native plants and worked with landholders on revegetation and biodiversity projects. I have also worked alongside Bhutanese refugees, struggling to learn English and using the language of growing food as a means for understanding their new country.
So my fingers are nicely warmed up now, the late August cold is still lingering outside and I must get creative and plan my volunteer garden class for the school kids today! I plan on taking in a bunch of Lemonade fruit for them to try. I love that some of the kids are trying new food we have grown in the garden. I think some families can’t believe their children now eat broccoli. Gardening really is wonderful.