Here is the full progress report of how the Restoring Garden project is going…
(starting from bottom of page, see top of page for most recent update):
5 December 2020 – What a year it has been!
As we come to the end of 2020, and our activities in the Restoring Garden take a break during the holiday season, we are grateful for a great year of growing food, growing ourselves, building relationships, and connecting to our creator.
Here are some of the highlights:
11 August 2020 – We keep growing.
As we continue to meet in the garden, we keep growing:
we are growing a variety of plants;
we are growing in our relationships with one another;
we are growing in our trust in one another;
we are each personally growing as we explore issues we all face, and rely on one another for support;
and we are growing in our knowledge of ourselves and of God.
22 July 2020 – 2 months of activities.
The last 2 months were busy at the Restoring Garden. We have started a Tuesday group and a Friday group that meets weekly for fellowship and activities. It has been an honour to be a part of such beautiful vision of seeing refugees beginning their journey of restoration.
22 May 2020 – Our first visitors.
Today we invited our first two visitors to come to the garden. We introduced them to the garden concept, and since the weather was cold and windy, we went inside to complete the seedling activity.
Great to see the dream becoming a reality:
It was March 2018 when Caroline and I (Angela) sat down and shared our dreams and visions of a trauma healing centre for refugees. We already knew each other for a few years, but this was the first time we talked about what we believed God was revealing to us for the future. What He revealed to her was very similar to what He revealed to me, and our partnership was born then.
Now, as we come together to see the progress of the garden, we are grateful that God has brought us together, has given us this dream, and He is turning it into reality. We are very excited about what Freedom to Flourish has been planning for the near future and we cannot wait to have refugee families involved in the garden and the many other activities we are preparing.
15 May 2020 – Our first vegetables garden bed is ready!
Today we had a big day in the garden. Darren from Community Greening came to teach us how to build our wicking raised garden bed. We learnt heaps from him. Thank you so much Darren for all your help, from the first drawing of what this garden could look like, to now, you have done a lot for us.
We built a wicking system, so we will be saving water. The wicking system means that the plants will self water from the water reservoir built at the bottom of the raised garden bed.
Thank you Community Greening for the donation of seedlings. Our first one is done!
(see pictures of the building of wicking system below)
Cameron installed the sink. Now we can get everyone to wash their hands as they arrive, and as they leave the garden. We also connected a hose all the way to the garden beds.
14 May 2020 – Thank you Bunnings Villawood for your donations!
We couldn’t be happier when we received a call from Jodie from Bunnings Villawood that they accepted our request for donations of materials to build the garden beds. I think you can tell that I (Angela) was happy, just from the huge smile on my face. God is providing!
12 May 2020 – Cleaning for new sink to be installed.
Today I spent some time cleaning the area where we will install our garden sink. And decided to tidy up the compost bay area, and put some more mulch on circle number 2.
10 May 2020 – Getting organised.
With the launching of the garden therapy activities approaching, I decided to spend some time preparing some tools.
10 May 2020 – So thankful for donations.
When you run a project this large with no money, you really need to rely on people’s generosity. Today I picked up a free sink, and we received the donation of 36 new garden gloves.
7 May 2020 – Planting soil has arrived.
Very exciting to see the premium garden mix soil being delivered today. Thank you, Janete, for the donation of funds to buy the soil.
7 May 2020 – The beginning of circle number 3.
The circle number 3 is where we will provide group therapy sessions. We will form a circle of benches to encourage conversations. Today I marked the ground and started filing up with mulch.
5 May 2020 – We have a tap.
Thanks Ash for installing a tap for easier access to water.
5 May 2020 – The entrance.
We started with a beautiful space to develop the Restoring Garden. But it was full of grass, which means high maintenance in terms of mowing weekly. So we decided to work towards a different entrance. For that, we needed to first change the grass into mulch, until we can move on to the next step into a more inviting entrance. Watch this space.
2 May 2020 – Organising seeds.
I have many seeds that are waiting to be planted in the garden, but they needed a little organising. Task done today. I even planted a few, so we can transplant them to the soil in future when they become seedlings.
25 April – Thank you Community Greening.
We have been receiving a lot of support from Darren from Community Greening. Today we thank him for the aloe vera plants.
24 April – Team work.
One of the ways that we have been maintaining connection, even when we cannot meet face-to-face, is by working as a team to accomplish the task of building the garden. Today it was Josh and the kids who had done a great job finishing circle number 2. Well done!
22 April – Watering the plants.
Today we wanted to make sure that the new plants are doing well, and to give them some water.
It would be easier if we had a proper tap, but since we only have a little sink, we used some science experiment to get the job done.
21 April 2020 – A little touch of green.
While the individual therapy circle is being finalized with wooden edges, I have already started adding a few little touches of green around. The Leighton green plants will provide a little bit of privacy and a sense of safety in the future.
16 April 2020 – Garden beds.
In June 2019, while speaking to a guy from VW Castle Hill about the project of a garden therapy for refugees, he said that he had many wooden boxes to donate to become garden beds. Back then, I had the dream, but not a land to place them. But I accepted his donation, and kept all the wood in my house. Now, almost a year later, they are placed where God wanted them to be. They will become our community garden raised beds. The second circle is for the community therapy program.
11 April 2020 – When friends help you picking up stuff with their trailer.
As soon as I saw water barrels available, I thought it could be useful in the garden, to even build a rain water system, so we save water. But how to pick it up when I could not fit even one in my car?
Well, ask a friend and you may be blessed by his generosity in helping. Thank you, Karl, from Sydney Refugee Team.
5 April 2020 – More on the first circle.
The circle around the Jacaranda tree will be used for outdoor individual therapy sessions, and our desire is to add a green wall around it, to feel safe, secluded, and peaceful, for the practice of grounding techniques. For that, we need some edge to keep the grass away, and to build the secluded area.
Darren from the Botanic Gardens (Community Greening) has been planting some bana grass to donate to us to form the green wall.
And Ash has been working on building the edge out of free pallets we collected. Well done!
3 April 2020 – Even the animals are enjoying the garden.
This afternoon Cameron went back to work on the pallets to turn them into benches. His son, and even his dog tested and approved it. It is coming together nicely.
3 April 2020 – Team work effort.
In times like now, when we cannot go out with others to do team work, it is great when your helpers are flatmates, live in the same household, and all willing to give us a hand. Thank you girls, what a great job you have done this morning.
2 April 2020 – Rain does not stop us.
Not being able to leave our homes has been hard, but any time I tell my kids that I need to work at the Granville site, they are excited. What a blessing it is to still have work, that is outdoors, and that my kids can follow me and help out. The rain made it even more fun.
Very thankful for the donation of lots of used wooden boxes from VW Castle Hill that are now going to turn into wicking raised garden beds for our community growing therapeutic program.
30 March 2020 – First circle is covered in mulch.
Because of physical distancing, unfortunately we cannot all be together at the same time in the garden, but that does not mean that each household team cannot go at different times in the same day. So this afternoon another family team achieved yet another task. And the first circle is now covered by mulch.
We are still tracking on each other’s contributions to the project, and feel very connected, working for the same goal, while not being able to do the tasks together at the same time. Community is being maintained.
30 March 2020 – What a blessing it is to have creative and handy people helping!
We want to develop a garden that not only produces goods, but that also is an enjoyable place to just sit and relax. We also plan to bring our refugee contacts to this garden and practice guided group therapy in it. For that, we would need a few benches.
When you are creative and handy, you can turn pallets into a nice rustic looking bench. Thank you Cameron for your hard work this morning. We will need a few more of these :). That will keep you busy.
29 March 2020 – We have work to do.
When you cannot gather a large group of people for a working bee in the garden, you rely on your own family to help you. So here we started mulching the first circle of The Restoring Garden.
27 March 2020 – When materials start to arrive.
There is something special about seeking materials start to arrive and all for free.
Thank you Josh for your clever and fun way of involving your family in the adventure of sourcing free pallets to build our benches for group therapy.
We also received the first load of mulch.
21 March 2020 – Our first working bee to tackle the overgrown grass.
The whole world has been hit by the COVID-19. Today we were aware that we need to stay not too close to each other, but we could still work in the area, each is our own task.
It took a team and a few mowing machines to tackle the grass today, but we did a great job.
Thank you JC Cleaning and Gardening for such huge help.
20 March 2020 – I guess we need to start somewhere.
After days of rain, days of having other priorities, and days of no energy to tackle the huge project ahead of us, I guess we need to start somewhere. So here is what the land area looks like today. I think this grass is out of control.
26 February 2020 – Access to the land space!
Today we finally signed the agreement of use of land for our therapeutic community garden project. We are so thankful to our God that we have been given access to such a beautiful spacious area to create our Restoring Garden. Now to raise a team and start the planning of what to do first.
20 January 2020 – Final drawings and plan of action.
After a few phone calls to council, checking regulations, thinking through the needs of a therapeutic garden, we were ready to start putting in paper the whole project, and it is finally finished!
17 January 2020 – Plans and “to do list”.
Since we have a plan in mind, next step is to draw it down and set up our “to do list”.
10 January 2020 – Ideas, dreams, plans
We are thrilled that the Botanic Gardens will support us through Community Greening. We met Darren today and discussed the dream, the ideas, and started to draw some plans.
3 January 2020 – The meeting we were waiting for.
After email and phone negotiations for a number of months, today we met with Granville Presbyterian Church to discuss our ideas and ask their permission to use their space for various ministry activities, including the therapeutic community garden project. The meeting went very well and we are full of joy for the verbal approval we received.
Next step, while paperwork needs to be done for a formal agreement, we will get to the area and check sun position, dimensions, safety of area, and get planning what we can do there for the garden to be built.