What a difference half a year makes! From barren infill to blooming garden beds of recycled timber and retaining edge-walls of recycled coconut fibre, the Pentridge Community Garden has come along in leaps and bounds thanks to the efforts of Andrew Ogbourne, the dedicated Organising Team, and the wider community.
“We’ve been very pleased with how it’s coming along” says Andrew on a fine Sunday morning in early February. “Something like this doesn’t just happen by itself – it takes time, effort, and money! Thankfully memberships have been strong and local businesses have been really supportive of what we’re doing here.”
Bunnings Coburg, the Back to Earth Initiative and Nelson Alexander are just some of the organisations that have helped facilitate the construction and maintenance of the garden, as well as the contributions of volunteers and memberships taken up by a growing number of immediate residents from the nearby Horizon Apartments, Pentridge Village and Industry Lane – not to mention from areas slightly further afield such as Reservoir.
“We’ve had some very generous people helping out,” says Andrew. “The shipping container there, this beautiful wood you see around you that we’ve made the planter boxes out of – we had a portable mill brought on site to help cut the logs to make those. Shayher Group of course for the original provision of the plot, and Moreland Community Garden have been incredible for providing organisational and governance support.”
Indeed, looking around the garden it’s striking to see how the commitment shown by all is bearing fruit. Decorative plants are starting to establish themselves on the Stockade Avenue slope and a profusion of tomato vines, marigold and sunflowers are in evidence. “It’s brought life to a vacant plot and has provided the community with real activity.”
“Gardens often produce in gluts,” he continues, “so we’ll be starting to pass along our surplus to those who really need it – fresh food is so important, particularly if you’re struggling.”
And there’s more to do. Andrew is clearly excited about getting the next phase of the garden underway. “We’re looking at grants we can access for the provision of a sunshade. There’s the prospect of proper irrigation to consider also. It all costs money. But we’re really pleased with what we’ve achieved so far and what we have in store.”
Despite the challenges, there’s little question that something special has taken root here at the feet of Pentridge and the Horizon apartments. Those interested in learning more should definitely attend one of the weekly Sunday Drop In Sessions that kick off at 9am.
Or, for those with something a little more serious in mind, why not consider a membership? Communal Gardening memberships are available from $50 ($25 concession) with Pentridge Community Garden supplying the seedlings, tools, mulch and know-how; or Personal Plot memberships, granting you a dedicated place to explore and develop your passion for produce.
So make sure to visit the Pentridge Community Garden page at the Moreland Community Gardening website, follow the latest at the Garden’s Facebook page, and save the date for the supportive sausage sizzle coming up Saturday 17 February at Bunnings Coburg!