Sunday, February 15, 2015

Habitat in Harmony or Harmony in Habitat

The amazing turmeric flower
It doesn’t really matter which way you say it, Habitat in Harmony community garden at Belmont Neighbourhood Centre is an absolute delight.

Ms Tagalong had been promising Chris Brown ( the co-ordinator ) that she would visit for so long that it was just becoming plain embarrassing every time she saw him.

‘Ms Mova and I will come next week,’ she said last November, ‘ I promise!’ And then Ms Mova was unwell and yet another visit was postponed.

Last week Ms Tagalong dragged Mr Ideasman along with the promise of a beach swim at nearby Redhead dangled carrotlike before him.  There were some mutterings of something sounding like this wasn’t what he thought semi-retirement might mean.

But he enjoyed the outing. Who wouldn’t? Who wouldn’t be caught up with the infectious enthusiasm that Chris brings to his role?

A gardener’s garden overflowing with abundant fruit and vegetables, a veritable cornucopia of produce familiar and not so familiar.

Looking for ideas that could be adopted in Tighes Hill Community Garden Ms Tagalong and Mr Ideasman wandered through taking photographs, scratching and sniffing, plucking and tearing.

‘So what’s that?’ Ms Tagalong enquired spying a large healthy looking plant looking somewhat like an eggplant/aubergine.

Peruvian Ground Apple or Yacon

A Peruvian ground apple,’ Chris said, ‘it is a great plant for using the leaves as mulch, leaving with little care, growing under shade or sun, tubers tasting like apple, an all round star.’

Although she begged, this was not the time to be taking cuttings or breaking off small pieces of tuber so Ms Tagalong had to be content to wait. (But as a postscript this weekend she spied some growing in a neighbour’s garden and vows to do some clandestine night time digging sometime soon.)

‘And what is that gorgeous flower?’ Ms Tagalong crouches down to get a closeup of what turns out to be a turmeric blossom. Heavenly.
Attracting insects in the habitat area

Wandering down by the stormwater area Ms Tagalong spies bush tucker, frog habitat and native bee attractors. Feeling incredibly green by this stage, Ms Tagalong enquires how all this is possible?  She knew really, she had already seen the people industriously weeding, watering and propagating.  A veritable battalion work force.  Well, not really 300 -800, but 9 regular volunteers who satisfy their Centrelink requirements by volunteering here 15 hours a week.

Ms Tagalong’s eyes lit up. Surely, surely there must be some folks in our community who would like to do this too? What a difference a regular commitment would make to the garden production.

They all chat about irrigation, weeds, mulch and other earthly delights and weighed down with plant gifts and cuttings Ms Tagalong has much food for thought!

Thank you Chris for being such an inspiration and if you have time go down to the garden, it is truly inspiring.

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