In the words of that doggedly determined and ever quotable Sir Winston Churchill, THIS is ‘the end of the beginning’. It is the end of winter and, even more importantly, it is the end of the planning stage for the new Jindivick Community Garden.

Over the past 6 months, this small but energetic community have been working with Sustainable Gardening Australia, to develop the design for their community garden. And now, with the winter behind them, they are ready to build. And what a beautiful garden they will be building. It will reflect the identity and values of the people who live in this Gippsland idyll and who have brought to this project a wonderful sense of community, clarity of vision and a generosity of spirit that is reflected in the final the garden design.

This garden will be located at Kydd Parke Reserve, Jacksons Track where the gardeners will enjoy the sweeping panoramas across the valley below. The garden will not have individual plots, although sections of the garden may be used for dedicated purposes by various groups at different times. The primary purpose of this garden will be to provide education and training to people from throughout the region in sustainable gardening activities. As such it will also be an experimental garden, trialling new plants and gardening techniques. But most of all it will be a happy place for the community to gather and socialise in a beautiful setting. And so, the Jindivick community has created, with the assistance of SGA and the guidance of designer Karen Sutherland of Edible Eden Design, a garden plan that any community would be proud to own.

To mark the transition from the planning stage to the building stage, the Jindivick Progress Association (JPA) held a ’Turning of the Sod’ ceremony at the garden site, Kydd Parke Reserve, on September 3rd . It was a well attended event that recognised the hard work put in by the both the Jindivick Community Garden working group and SGA, who have worked together on this project since early February.

The day started off with one of the regular garden workshops that are held monthly at the Jindivick Cricket Clubrooms. This particular workshop was presented by talented garden designer and writer Kate Herd. Kate’s workshop focused on growing summer vegetables and in addition to expert garden advice and information, Kate also spoke of her pleasure in meeting many great home gardeners as she travelled around Australia gathering research for her recently published and beautifully informative book, ‘Kitchen Gardens of Australia’.

Kate’s own garden on the banks of the River Yarra in Melbourne regularly features in garden magazines and on TV.

In what seems like perfect symmetry, Karen Sutherland, the designer of the Jindivick Community Garden, also features in a chapter of Kate’s book.

After the garden workshop, the community and invited guests, moved to the site of the garden where the ceremonial ‘Turning of the Sod’ was held. Cr Mel Neil form Baw Baw Shire, Mary Trigger CEO of SGA and Liz Duell from the Jindivick Progress Association all spoke passionately about the importance of projects such as this Jindivick community garden.

Darvell Hutchinson, the Chair of the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust, who are funding this garden project, spoke of the commitment of the Trust in assisting communities such as Jindivick, who were affected by the tragedy of the 2009 Victorian bushfires, to rebuild their community through projects such as this.

The only low light of the otherwise uplifting event, was the participation of a very irate and vocal resident magpie, who made a number of intimidating swoops over us  thereby ensuring the speeches were brief and the event ran to time.

Afterwards everyone stayed to enjoy some light lunch and refreshments provided by the Jindivick Community Garden Working Group.

Background to the Community Based Garden Project

The Jindivick Community Garden is being made possible through generous funding provided by the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust Bushfire Grants Fund. This fund was established in response to the 2009 Victorian bushfires and aims to assist in the restoration of community life in rural townships affected by the fires.

In all four communities received funding to create community gardens from the trust. The other garden locations are in Yinnar, Beechworth and Toolangi.

The Jindivick community is being assisted in the development of their garden by Sustainable Gardening Australia who is working closely with all four communities to assist each of them to fulfil their dream of a community garden.

You can follow the progress of the four community gardens on the Facebook page – SGA Community Gardens. Information on upcoming events and free community workshops are also posted regularly on the Facebook page.