My Garden, My Community

Next to the kitchen the second place I spend most of my time is in a garden, mostly mine or the community garden. They have equal value and provide a vital role for our waste-less lifestyle.

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Taro and lillies were salvaged from a nearby vacant property that is destined to be demolished. Heliconia’s are from family in South Head.

I think about my garden a lot. I gaze at it from my bedroom window, check on my seedlings constantly, and rain or shine I will find something that needs doing in my garden no matter how big or small.

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Silverbeet, native spinach and rhubarb were grown by a seed raising co-op I belong to. Beans were gifted by a good gardening friend and the spinach came from my long time mentor and GI native who now lives in Mt Eden.

One of the things I love about my garden are the stories of the plants and garden objects. Aside from the established plants that were already here when we moved in, I enjoy thinking about and telling people where my plants and gardening materials came from, which are either acquired from friends, family, garden colleagues or salvaged.

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These items were salvaged from Wai o Taki Bay last summer.

I read a book over summer called ‘A Tohunga’s Natural World: Plants, Gardening and Food’ by Paul Moon. The tohunga talked about how the energy that is put into the plant is important for its mana and can determine its productively and value. At the time I read this I must admit I was a bit dubious of this notion. However, now as more and more of my time is spent in my garden and on gardening projects I couldn’t agree more with these wise words.

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Lettuces, kohlrabi, cabbage and beetroot grown from the seed raising co-op. Straw and poop from my favourite bunny in Pt Chev.

Whether its preparing or eating the fruit and vegetables from the garden, looking at their beauty or admiring their role in their eco-system I’m constantly reminded of where and who they came from. It’s a lovely way to appreciate your friends, family and community.

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My latest acquisition – a thornless blackberry comes from a Glendowie friend. It is planted in compost from the community garden, from which my food scraps helped make!

The other night I made a beef stir fry made with cauliflower from Ruapotaka community garden, broccoli from PERA community garden, radishes from a friend and beef that was gifted from my neighbour’s son’s farm. I felt honoured and extremely grateful to nourish myself and family with food grown and raised by people I value.

Thank-you to those in my garden community who support, nourish, and enrich my life. Ofa lahi atu. x

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