AN AVID GROUP from the local community has almost finished construction of stage one the their Ultimo Community Garden.
Approved by Sydney City Council late last year as a one-year trial for a poorly used inner urban park, construction has been a do-it-yourself process by the garden team over succeeding months, with construction starting about four months ago.
The garden takes the form of five long, parallel garden beds raised approximately a metre above the soil. The gardeners have planted into this, including some of the left-over plant stock from council's Living Colour displays in the city which last season featured edible species.
A participatory site analysis was carried out by a consultant to the City, Emma Daniell from Natural Touch Landscapes. Emma has recently been completing her Permaculture Design Certificate.
People working nearby use the seating around the edge of the park during their lunch breaks, and a few local people also make use of the benches. Thus, the seating was retained in place, as was the public barbecue which the City repaired.
A few adjustments remain to be done to the construction to bring it to the presentation and safety standard expected by the City for installations in public places. Compost bins and deco—decomposed granite—paths are soon to be installed. The paths will improve the appearance and durability of the site.
The garden is unfenced so that people can wander through to look at the flowers, herbs and vegetables growing in the planters. The City prefers unfenced community gardens or only low fences of an approved design, and only in exceptional circumstances would consider a high fence. This is because
many gardens are on public open space which must continue to perform that function so as not to alienate the land. The gardens are a special use of open space in much the same way that childrens' playgrounds, tennis courts and other sporting facilities are special uses of public land. The garden provides the opportunity for active outdoor recreation, learning and for people to have the opportunity to work together to create something new and to take responsibility for its ongoing use.