Annual General Meeting November 2014
Once again Mosman Community Gardeners went from strength to strength. The new rotunda at Mackie Lane provided the focus for our education program as well as many celebrations; the gardens at Mackie Lane and Middle Head flourished; our partnerships deepened; and MCG continued its mission to inspire and encourage sustainability, the cultivation of edible plants and sharing of food, and the nurturing of community connections and friendships.
Highlights of 2014
Fortunately the Mackie Lane rotunda was completed towards the end of 2013 in time to cope with the hot summer months. As anticipated, it was the hub of our education activities and numerous garden celebrations throughout 2014, with some members taking the opportunity to host private functions under its shade. Special thanks are due to Chris Lee and the construction team. Chris continues to enhance the Rotunda’s contribution to the garden and to showcase sustainability initiatives, including piping together recycled water bins to catch water from the roof. The installation of solar panels to provide lighting is planned for the future.
Each month we celebrated with food and drinks and in October MCG hosted a special afternoon tea to thank Rotary for generously providing funds to build the Rotunda. There was an impressive turnout resulting in new members and lots of ideas for future projects such as a watering system for the entire garden. The celebration coincided with the three-year anniversary of the first Mackie Lane working bee.
We built new wicking beds at Mackie Lane and there was much planting, harvesting and refurbishing, as well as a record number of visitors who came to be inspired and learn from what we‘re doing. We covered all the concrete areas with wood chips, transforming the look and feel of the garden, cutting down heat and providing mulch. Now that we have more land at Mackie Lane and the garden infrastructure is well established, we decided to allocate individual allotments, and several members have taken up this opportunity. On a sad note, Ann Pollard, one of our most dedicated gardeners, died suddenly in October. Her enthusiasm, joy of life and good nature will be sorely missed.
Our children’s program continues with Kids Cottage Middle Harbour children tending and harvesting their dedicated beds and children from nearby Kinderland visiting to learn about edible gardening. Mackie Lane garden is very family friendly with a cubby house, sandpit, blackboard and gardening activities to engage the kids. Students are also volunteering in the garden as part of the Duke of Edinburgh program. The Mosman Community College art classes at the garden for both adults and children were so successful that it is proposed to run a whole botanical art program next year, and the College used Mackie Lane to run a photography class. Once again, we hosted Grandparents Day for Mosman Council.
During the year four new above ground beds were added to the Middle Head garden, three of them with donated rosella plants. One of our members made Rosella jam from the garden to share with the wider Mosman Community Gardeners’ group. Middle Head gardeners continue to enjoy ‘drinks and nibbles’ each month and where possible have taken the opportunity to explain the garden to visitors wandering through the area. Plants and flowers from the garden have been picked and added to those from Mackie Lane to donate to The Carers’ Cafe at Mosman Council each month. Members have assisted with special days organised by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and we were able to prepare and share lunch with a group of refugees who visited and worked with NPWS.
Thank you to our partners and supporters: Rotary, Bendigo Bank, Bunnings, Mosman Council, Ausgrid, NPWS, Kimbriki, Poskitt Design, Proj-X, Honeysuckle Garden Centre and the Mosman Daily. Many thanks to the MCG office bearers: Lilian Andrew, Peter Hook, Diana Gibson, Gill Lee, Kerry Bullock and Elizabeth Luke. Special thanks to Gill Lee for her work as garden coordinator at Mackie Lane, and to Elizabeth Luke for garden coordination at Middle Head. Our heartfelt thanks to all MCG volunteers for giving so generously of their time and skills, and for their continued support and dedication to community gardening.
On a personal note, my other commitments increased this year so I needed to step aside as President. Many thanks to Lilian Andrew and Peter Hook, who took over the responsibilities. We have come a long way since our first meetings nearly five years ago when we had no land and spent most of our time lobbying for a community garden. Today we have two thriving gardens, an ever-growing membership, and importantly, have succeeded in bringing the cause of growing edible plants to the attention of the Council and the community.
Middle Head and Mackie Lane continue to produce an abundance of vegetables, herbs and flowers and provide a happy place to garden and share food and friendships. Thanks to our wonderful members, we can be proud of our achievements in 2014 and look forward to another successful year ahead.