On a recent guest blog over at cityhippyfarmgirl, there were lots of really nice things said about the pictures of our garden (aw shucks) so I'd like to show you where we drew our inspiration from. Our garden pales in comparison to this garden. This is my happy place. This used to be my local. This is Veg Out Community Garden in St Kilda. Let me show you around...
In the late nineties, Port Phillip Council offered the site of the disused St Kilda Bowling Club as studio space to local artists. It didn't take long before all the buildings were occupied and a thriving artist colony had formed. However, the sorry sight of a former bowling green sprouting weeds drove several of the artists to turn the soil into what would become a series of plots and a community garden. The first crop at the gardens was 1,000 sunflowers, planted as a symbol of health, wellbeing and hope.
Veg Out Community Gardens is the vibrant heart of a sweet and crazy community of mixed individuals. It stands behind Acland Street and you can hear the screams from the rollercoaster at Luna Park next door. Within the walls are a mosaic of lush productive vegie beds with no shortage of colour from the occasional companion herb. There is an orchard, a chook yard, even bunnies and guinea pigs. Along one side run the artists studios although the artwork is not restricted to there. Every available space shows evidance that creative souls inhabit this space. Veg out has a few simple rules, everyone is expected to be nice, plot holders are asked to participate in three working bees a year and they have a use it or lose it policy. The waiting list for folk wanting to move in is obviously pretty long and the plots that are occupied are all lovingly tended. The ones that are not are swiftly reassigned. We lived just a short stroll up the road next to our landlord who happened to be the coordinator of the Gardens at the time. We weren't there long enough to make our way up the wait list but we were welcomed into the community as if we were plot holders and invited to share the bounty.
The gardens are rich with colour. If there is an opportunity to make art then it is snatched up with gusto and executed with flare. Never before have I witnessed such curious and exuberant use of up cycling, whether it is to line a bed, provide support for some beans to climb or just for the sheer sake of randomness, around these parts nothing is wasted. At Veg Out, only organic gardening is allowed, water restrictions are adhered to and composting is taken very, very seriously.
I could go on and on about the wonders of this place but I think the pictures tell the story so much better. I hold this place, my happy place, as an ideal for what all communities should strive for. A meeting place, a food source, an education, a place to share and experiment with ideas. Where waste turns to wonder and humans tread lightly on the earth.
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