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New garden program enables friendships to blossom

October 26, 2021
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New garden program enables friendships to blossom

New garden program enables friendships to blossom

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” – Marcus Cicero

How often do you enjoy the simple pleasure of spending time outdoors in a garden with friends? For some of our Be clients on the Sunshine Coast, it’s become a regular treat! Over the past six months, our clients have been taking part in the new Be Community Garden Program at the beautiful Eastbank Edible Community Garden, perched on the banks of the Lake Kawana in Bokarina.

Held on the last three Thursdays of each month, the program facilitates gardening and art projects and provides morning tea for all guests to share. Our clients are joined by Be volunteers and also by children as a way of encouraging vital intergenerational connections for improved health and wellbeing. The events are a chance for young and old to be in nature and connect amidst creative projects inspired by the garden’s beautiful bounty.

Participants agree: the lakeside community garden is a special spot to gather and be social. Client Jenny says, “Being surrounded by the gardens is always so relaxing, especially when chatting and making new friends over a cuppa and morning tea”.

The garden’s shaded seating area has delightful water views and is set amidst fruit trees, fragrant flowers, edible herbs and veggie patches bursting with fresh produce. Bees are buzzing, birds and butterflies flutter about, and the hand-made wind chimes hanging in the trees tinkle and sing at the slightest hint of a lake breeze.

 

For each workshop, the group numbers may range from six clients up to 15 on a busy morning! Client June is new to the group, but is already hooked! “This is my first time here. I’ve enjoyed it very much, especially chatting and the morning tea. I’ll definitely be back,” she says.

Once a month there will also be visits from up to five kindy children and their teachers from the local Green Beginnings Child Care Centre. The workshops also regularly involve three Year 8 students from Kawana Waters State College, located just across the road from the garden.

Sunshine Coast Community Garden Program Officer Bruce Molloy says the workshops are positive and nourishing for all involved.

“I just love to see the joyful and caring way that young and old interact during these workshops,” Bruce says. “We all sense that the friendships and trust are developing within the group. The clients tell me how much they look forward to seeing the students each event, and that they are great company, and very polite and helpful.” Read more about the benefits of gardening here.

During a recent clay workshop, the students generously helped those clients who were having trouble moulding the clay. “When the students feel useful and needed, it’s clear their personal self-esteem and confidence gets a boost,” Bruce says. “And our clients love the opportunity to chat to and be around these young people. It really is a win-win situation.”

Client Marjorie says she loves coming along regularly to the craft events. “They give me an opportunity to try things that I normally wouldn’t do at home by myself. I also enjoy it when the students and kindy kids come along,” she says.

The art of tea making was explored in a recent workshop, with guests invited to pick herbs fresh from the garden. Herbs of lemon myrtle, rosemary, mint, rosella, and lavender were boiled into a tasty brew and complemented by a delicious morning tea of scones with jam and cream! Bruce said it turned out to be one of the most popular workshops, with the high school students helping to carefully serve the tea to all the guests. At the end of the event, a quick poll discovered that the winning herb flavour of the day was lemon myrtle!

support staff children community garden
support staff children community garden

 

In other workshops, clients have created terracotta clay wind chimes and unique clay owl herb pots. Coralie enjoyed the clay craft. “The owl pot of clay that I painted at a recent event sits on my kitchen bench for all to see,” Coralie says. “Once I’m at the workshops, I don’t want to leave; they are so enjoyable.”

The pet rock painting workshop was a favourite for the kindy kids. The little artists especially enjoyed the final part of the morning as they walked around the garden with their new friends. Together, the clients and children decided the perfect sunny or shady spot for each pet rock to live!

Our clients are fortunate to have Bruce facilitating the program as he was part of the team of landscape consultants who established the Eastbank Edible Garden nine years ago. Through his gentle and positive leadership, Bruce is passionate about sharing the joy and wonder of organic gardening and permaculture, and in helping to build healthy and connected communities.

Clients also appreciate the opportunity to access Be transport to and from the events, as it ensures they are able to enjoy a safe, comfortable and reliable journey.

Interested in learning more about programs facilitated by Be at the Community Garden? Call and chat to our friendly team on 1300 761 011.

 

children older people craft community garden

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