Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

where I went today

One of Adelaide's very few Community Gardens had an open day today.
Eight months ago, I donated my entire pot plant collection to them.
Today, I went along to see the garden, and get a look at my "babies".
Sadly, I didn't see them all, several were still in storage waiting for the ground to be prepared in the places where they were to be planted. Some had been sold and were now happily living in other gardens.
Here are some of the things I did see.

This lovely sign at the entrance to a site that used to house a Jam Factory.
Inside the gate this path leads past garden plots on both sides which are "owned" by community members and they grow whatever they want to grow. Some grow vegetables, some grow herbs, I saw strawberries in one plot.
The path leads to the "house", which is really just a large meeting room, with a kitchen, and at the back of the building is a waterless composting toilet.
The garden is run on permaculture and organic principles, with no pesticides or chemical fertilisers, as evidenced by the many caterpillar chewed leaves I saw.

I loved this strawberry pot sitting in a plot that bordered the path,

and this quirky little chooken, guarding her patch.

This spectacular yellow flowered bush, (believe me, in real life it looks much more spectacular than the photo suggests), which is taller than me and several metres around... a Jerusalem Sage. I'd recognised the leaves as a sage, but hadn't ever seen one with these gorgeous yellow flowers, so I asked what it was.

Oh, I want one.....sigh.
Regular sage is growing and flowering really well in a plot a little further up.
Sage and Lemon Balm iced tea is very cooling on a hot summer day.
In one corner there is a children's play area,

with this an old door frame hung with cutlery and spoons to tinkle in the breeze. Although the day was very windy and I didn't hear any tinkling. I think they're spaced a little too far apart.

When I arrived several people were already partaking in the tea and scones, coffee and muffins provided.

Over to the left was a table with seedlings for sale. They had seedling tomatoes of a variety I'd never heard of. Yellow Peach. Naturally I bought one, because now of course I want to know how big it grows, how much fruit it might produce, what they look and taste like.
If it grows and survives, I'll let you know.
(just lately my green thumbs have the kiss of death......)
This is a young grape vine, I'm hoping a frame gets built for it to climb over.

In the corner beyond the grape vine is this young apple tree, it looks very much like the one I had, maybe it's the same one.

Borage is growing well and bringing plenty of bees to the garden.
Aren't the flowers beautiful? And so blue. Borage is another herb that can be used to make a tea. The leaves and flowers are sometimes added to salads, some people freeze the flowers in icecube trays to add to drinks.

Just inside the entrance gate is a good sized stand of banana palms with plenty of fruit forming.
They're small and plump, so I'm guessing they're lady fingers.

Over on a side fence there is a young elder tree, with a laminated information sheet attached that has some information about what the tree is used for. For instance the wood from the elder tree should only be used for white magic. Furniture made from elder wood will crumble or break, a baby placed in a cradle made from elder wood will fail to thrive.

This can, however, be overcome, by a rhyme and a promise made to the spirit of The Elder Woman that resides in the tree. In essence you ask permission to take and use the wood and promise to return some to her when you have grown your own elder tree.
The fruit from the elder tree was used to make elderberry wine in days of old.

The spirit of The Elder Woman.

Spinach and broad beans were everywhere and more than a few plants of several varieties were being allowed to go to seed in preparation for the next seasons planting.
I saw a celery plant almost as tall as me that would soon flower and onions and garlic were flowering too.
In the corner shading the children's play area was huge old persimmon tree, the biggest I've ever seen.
Many loquats were scattered throughout the garden, heavy with ripening fruit, some of which I picked and ate, yum.
I saw the tub with the baby loquat trees that I'd grown and went over to say hello. Because everyone knows that talked to plants do better than those ignored, and I'd always talked to them when they were in my yard.

This is part of the information sheet attached to the elder tree.

I'm going back one day, maybe the next open day, maybe sooner. The people who congregate there are all so friendly and anyone is welcome to come and help out.


  1. Looks like a great community garden, hope you get back there again, River :)

  2. What a simply brilliant example of a community garden. Is it near to you I wondered to myself. A place where you could become part of that community instead of an onlooker. Your knowledge is enviable. Love the photo's. I look forward to your posts from the other side of the world River. I save them to last in my reader. A little like a favourite chocolate in the box. I like that you write of your days, so naturally. I find myself in quiet moments wondering what you will have been up to next. I would have enjoyed this day of yours.

  3. A community garden is a top idea and this particular one that you visited looks incredibly tidy! The one near us is very higgledy-piggedly but much loved and used.

    Pretty impressive to see bananas growing so happily in Adelaide's dry climate too.

  4. Jayne; I'm definitely going back and I have more photos that didn't make it into this post, so there'll be another one soon.

    Achelois; I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm your favourite chocolate? Hmmm. The garden isn't near me, I wish it was because then I would join the garden community and be there often. But I had to catch a bus into the city, then another bus out to the suburb where the garden is.

    Kath, There are some straggly higgledy-piggledy plots there, but there's also lots of pretty spots and quite a bit of renovation going on. Recently an old shed was pulled down and cleared away, that area is being dug over soon, with compost being added before my cherry tree is being planted in it. Other areas are being prepared for my apple tree, the one in the photo isn't mine as it turns out, hopefully the plum trees will be there too.
    Bananas grow quite well in Adelaide, I had a stand of banana palms in a previous garden and the fruit was yummy.