Over the last few years, community-based garden initiatives have sprung up around Albert-Eden. They provide a welcome refuge for birds, butterflies and people in the local area and beyond.
Local Board Chair Peter Haynes says, “We recognise that community gardens not only benefit health and wellbeing but also bring diverse ethnic and other groups together, enhance life skills and build local sustainability and resilience (in the event of major emergencies).”
Since its inception, Albert-Eden Local Board has worked to grow the number of community-based garden initiatives. Locals have enthusiastically pitched in and nurtured their patches too.
Currently, the local board funds the Diabetes Projects Trust’s Gardens4Health to deliver a raft of practical support options - including planning, implementation, organic best practice - to sustain ten community gardens, and grow the community garden web.
Gardens4Health Project Manager Richard Main says, “There’s been a quantum leap in the amount of community gardening activity in the Albert-Eden area over the last eight years. It’s been great to be part of this and to work with such a supportive local board.”
The Eden Terrace Community garden is a tranquil refuge for butterflies and people
Tucked away in Eden Terrace, only metres away from a busy arterial road, is an oasis of calm where butterflies flutter around wildflowers, flax and swan plants. Just a few years ago this tiny parcel of land in Bright Street was barren, a neglected remnant of the interchange project that towers above.
The local residents, led by Lyn Barnes, have transformed it into a charming sanctuary for butterflies and anyone who wishes to sit quietly and enjoy the tranquillity. It became the first urban monarch butterfly sanctuary in the country recognised by the NZ Moths and Butterflies Trust in 2016.
The local board backed Lyn with the ongoing sustainability work through the eco-neighbourhoods programme and contributed to the cost of Kate Millington’s wonderful butterfly mural across the road.
For more information on the garden, mural and sustainability work of this great community, visit their facebook page.
Hidden gem a testimony to aroha and mahi in Pt. Chev
Hidden behind Pt Chevalier’s Pirates Bowling Club, the Dignan St Community Garden surprises the unsuspecting visitor. In just four years, a growing band of community gardeners founded in Transition Town Pt Chevalier have turned almost 900sq metres of space into a thriving garden and hub of grassroots community activity.
The support of Pirates Bowling Club managers Jenny and Nick means the group focuses on friendships, planting food and building infrastructure, mainly from recovered/bin-dived materials that get up-cycled.
With the help of an initial local board establishment grant and another towards the purchase of two large water tanks, the garden's future looks very green.
Regular workshops have included Asian cooking straight from the garden, bamboo, water logging problems & solutions, growing from seeds and cuttings and DIY emergency compost toilet. The latest project is the weekly conversion of 15 boxes of organic waste from the big Pt Chevalier supermarket into compost to improve the garden’s poor soil structure.
A fledgeling orchard, banana circle, grapevine pergola, eight-bay compost hub and a pizza oven are some of the garden’s highlights. For more information on the garden, mural and sustainability work of this great community visit their facebook page.
Epsom Community Centre Community Garden
Behind the Epsom Community Centre, the Epsom Community Garden is a showpiece garden that reflects a shared passion for gardening and fellowship.
A wide variety of vegetables, herbs and flowers flourish in raised planter boxes. The garden was begun in June 2012 with strong support from the local community and the Epsom Community Centre. It is tended regularly by eight volunteer gardeners.
The modest group size suits the smallish size of the gardens. Tuesday mornings are always busy; weeding, watering, planting, removing old growth, harvesting, and replenishing the soil. In the dry season volunteer work for extra watering days.
They run the garden on organic principles, renewing the soil with manure from a pony club, coffee grounds from the local coffee shops, grass clippings, leaves, and seaweed. The organically grown calendula flowers are made into a lovely, healing salve which is sold for a very reasonable $10.
This gem of a garden showcases how a small space can maximise cropping of vegetables and herbs, and raise the visual appeal of the Epsom Community Centre environment with edible plants and flowers. For more details, visit their website.