A couple of weeks ago, I went on a tour of four organic ‘self-sufficiency’ gardens in Feilding, which was run by Transition Feilding.
Three of the gardens were the urban gardens of people working towards self-sufficiency in vegetables (and some fruits, and in two cases, eggs) and one was the shared garden of the Bhutanese Refugee Community.
(I must confess my ignorance – before this tour I had not known about New Zealand’s Bhutanese Refugees. Here’s a little bit about it:
‘Since the 1990s, over 100,000 Lhotshampa (Bhutanese of Nepali origin) have been confined to seven refugee camps in south-eastern Nepal after the Government of Bhutan revoked their citizenship and forced them to flee the country. These Nepali Bhutanese spent 18 years in refugee camps, being denied integration into the local Nepal community or their return to Bhutan before the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) offered third-country resettlement as a solution. In 2007, New Zealand announced its inclusion of Bhutanese refugees into its annual refugee quota.’
(Taken from the dol.govt.nz website.)
Anyway, here’s some photographs – doing this kind of tour is my idea of BLISS, I could walk around other people’s vegetable gardens all day. (Ornamental gardens, not so much – I get bored after twenty minutes or so and think ‘gosh, you could grow so much food here!’) I love seeing how other people do things and getting ideas.
(I didn’t take photographs of the first garden, because it belonged to a friend and she wasn’t feeling all that public-ready on the day.)
Here’s some shots of the Bhutanese garden – they were donated an empty section by the local council, and the local Lions Club built them a fence around it so people wouldn’t nick their vegetables. They grow intensively, it was like a mini-farm!
They get horse poo from a local barn and man, their brassicas were HUGE!
I like the way they use tree windfall branches for bean frames:
These shots are from the garden of the Brebner family – they have been self-sufficient in vegetables since the 1970s. Their garden was super-tidy, pretty and well-organised, with a beautiful mini-orchard of fruit and nut trees and cool little greenhouse. My garden never looks this tidy! It did make me yearn for a greenhouse – their greenhouse tomato plants already had fruit!
The final garden was a ‘Reclaim the Lawn’ garden of the Witt family. It is a relatively new garden, and they are slowly reclaiming their substantial lawn and turning it into productive space. It was so inspiring to see how attractive the mixed beds were, with vegetables, herbs and flowers all in together. You can also see the start of a herb spiral. They also have lots of chickens and ducks! but I didn’t get a shot of those for some reason.
It was a lovely way to spend a morning and I came home inspired to plant more & more & more edibles all the time, AND to do more mixing up of ornamentals and edibles in my flower beds.