There are many reasons why Australia is a great country to live in and I’ve reiterated those in my previous Planet Australia posts. It’s easy to fall in love with a country whose landscapes and nature never cease to amaze you, whose friendly inhabitants with their optimistic outlook on life make you feel welcome, whose glorious weather allows you to bask in the sun and stock up on vitamin D all year round.
There is one more reason why I love Oz dearly, connected with its favourable climate, and it is the fact that I can get busy in my garden for 12 months a year! I’ve always been an outdoorsy person with a particular interest in growing plants. In Australia I can grow things all year round, and a good variety of them too, without having to retire for the winter.
In the summer my garden is full of tomatoes, courgettes, red peppers (called capsicums here) and basil. In the colder months of winter I get a good crop of kale, beetroot, spinach, parsley, dill and radishes. Onions grow all year round. I’ve also managed to grow a decent harvest of garlic, potatoes, pumpkins, leeks and celery at different times of the year. In our herb garden we have a constant supply of rosemary and mint. Nothing beats the satisfaction of growing your own food. And there’s something therapeutic about burying your hands in soil and connecting with Mother Nature that can’t be explained in words.
Can life get better than that? It sure can. The beauty of living in Australia is that you don’t even have to have your own garden or tools in order to be able to grow fruit and vegetables. Community gardens do a great job of providing the necessary resources to all experienced and budding (pardon the pun) gardeners. How do community gardens work? Local governments provide a piece of land to a group of residents who then transform it into a community garden. Thanks to fundraising and donations, gardening communities can buy the necessary equipment and start the fun of growing stuff! It’s an absolute win-win. Public places get transformed into incredible gardens and orchards, local residents get a chance to meet up, mingle and build a stronger community while getting physically active outdoors. There is also the tasty aspect of it. At the end of the day you get to enjoy the fruits of your labour. Some community gardens even have a pizza oven for cooking delicious food with the produce grown. And everyone is welcome to give gardening a try, whether you have a green thumb or not.
As you can see, not having a garden is no obstacle for becoming a grower. Having no seeds is not a problem either since there are seed libraries. Seed libraries work like any other library. You become a member and can ‘borrow’ any seeds you might want to plant. Once you’ve had a successful crop and managed to harvest some new seeds, you can return them to the library, though this is not a must. The aim of seed libraries is to give the local community an opportunity to plant a variety of organic, heirloom and native seeds and promote sustainability. Such a simple but brilliant idea!
I’m off to do some weeding now. Happy gardening, everyone!
The image “Secret Garden Koala” courtesy of La La Land and the artist: Murilo Manzini.