Gardeners at the Drake Village Women’s Shed wanted to cater for most folk in the small NSW town when they developed their community garden with support from Highways and Byways.
Using three newly built raised garden beds they planted up pollinator, sensory and medicinal gardens, offering something for everyone. It’s an important addition to the town, which was badly hit by the 2019 fires.
Suki Shea, from the Women’s Shed said the garden, which is coming along well, offers something for most ages, but especially for the Blue Banded, native and European bees, ensuring other plants in the area can be pollinated.
About 15 Shed members and various community members worked on establishing the garden, which is now maintained by seven regular members and keen gardeners, including Suki. Backtrack Youth Works, a local community group, also helped get the gardens up and running.
The garden is at the town hall, which is used by a range of other services including a local play group, which the Shed members had in mind during the planning. “We planted things that the children will enjoy touching and smelling. We believe it can be very calming for some children if they are distressed, to be around this sort of garden,” Suki said.
Locals are encouraged to visit the garden and take cuttings from medicinal plants such as Comfrey, Mugwort and Aloe Vera and try and grow the plant at home for their own use.
Suki said many in the town and surrounding areas have been traumatised by the fires, which destroyed several homes, as well as recent floods, COVID lockdowns and a mouse plague.
“Lockdowns were hard on many women who are isolated on nearby properties. We really encourage them to come and visit the gardens, be part of the Women’s Shed or activities we run. Even if someone has lost a lot of energy because of the events of the last few years, they throw a few seeds in the dirt and watch something grow. That can be very healing.
IMAGE: Volunteers from the Drake Village Women’s Shed and Backtrack Youth Works plant out the new garden beds.