Nothing is more satisfying then heading out to the back garden, picking fresh vegetables grown and cared for yourself, and using them to cook a delicious summer salad. That’s exactly what Rocky Bay’s Gardening Group does when they meet once every week in the Studio at Mosman Park.
Support workers Ran Ayres and Amanda Newman assist customers to grow plants and vegetables, which are then used by the group to make a variety of delicious dishes. Most recently, the green-fingered group harvested a large haul of broad beans from the shared garden at the Mosman Park site that they used to create an amazing fresh salad with edible flowers.
“Our customers are very involved in the vegetable garden and where we buy plants from,” said Ran.
“Terry (a Rocky Bay resident) loves to research what to plant at what time of year, and choose where we should buy it from.”
The olive trees which grow on the property have also been a source of fun for customers, with the group harvesting and pickling their own olives. And when there is an abundance of vegetables, excess is often donated to the Studio’s Cooking Group.
The group also enjoy trips to Bunnings to select what they will plant next, and every other week take a field trip to local parks and gardens to check out the native flora.
They also often visit Piney Lakes Play Park and gardens – a park which group members Terry Fleming, Carolyn Shervill and Malcolm Burgess were involved in the design of as part of the City of Melville’s redevelopment consultation process. The trio had a hand in making sure the park was accessible to people of diverse abilities, providing input on the path layout, ease of table access for wheelchair users and ideas for the garden beds.
The winter weather doesn’t always allow customers to get outdoors to plant and explore, so when it’s a little wild and wet outside the group make their own terracotta pots to propagate succulents and organise potted plants to give away in fundraising raffles. They also collect seeds from the plants in their garden and present them in small glass vials covered with colourful material to sell via The Studio.
Ran said that community groups have often joined the Gardening Group, including the Friends of Mosman Park Bushland.
“When they visited The Studio, they brought along seeds of local natives they have collected and stayed for a cuppa and a chat with our customers.”
The Studio at 60 McCabe Street, Mosman Park is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 3pm, and visitors are welcome to pop in and purchase handmade items by our customers, including seed vials created by the gardening group.