Up until the last decade or so the ‘community garden’ was a concept that was a little unheard of. Sure the premise was easy enough to understand but communal garden beds seemed to be the stuff of hippy towns on the coast or progressive towns in far flung places. Now they’re everywhere and to be honest it’s really, really nice.
The other weekend I had the pleasure of spending a few hours in Wagga Wagga’s community garden – a place I’d driven past dozen of times but never found the time to visit…
It was a stinking hot day and walking into this green space full of plants, dripping hoses and shady nooks felt like a total oasis.
Despite the heatwave, there was still an abundance of thriving plants brimming with edibles – juicy bunches of grapes, herbs and huge purple flower adorned artichokes.
Garlic hung to dry in a newly created space that’ll eventually be used for art projects and the smell was heavenly – an earthy spiciness, which makes your mouth water.
There was a designated area where children could play and dig their chubby little hands into rich soil, a sensory garden where the plants seemed to long for you to touch them and the cutest outdoor kitchen with a mosaic floor, where the kettle seemed to boil continuously making cup after cup of tea and coffee.
I learnt there were people from all walks of life who visited the garden to help mulch, plant and water it: university professors, a furniture maker, a former chef in an Indian restaurant, old farmers who’d moved into town but still wanted to ‘grow’, newly settled refugees and people living with mental illnesses who sometimes just needed a quiet space.
The garden holds a market once a week and during the colder months there’s a pizza oven on site to help create warm, filling meals.
I left the garden with a little spring in my step. In a world where there can be so much chaos, this felt like a safe space free from distractions and full of people who just liked to be outdoors. I could really feel that sense of community.
I’m looking forward to going back soon with Adam in tow, as I think he’d love it and be reminded of the family allotment, back in England.
Do you have a community garden in your town?