Monday, December 16, 2013

Harvest Monday: Wayside Chapel Rooftop Garden

Last weekend I was lucky enough to be invited on an #urbanOasisTour of Potts Point. The tour was organized by Sydney of City Council and PR agency Liquid Ideas and was run by balcony gardener extraordinaire, Indira Naidoo.  I'm in awe of Indira's balcony garden so if you've been following this blog for a while you'll already know I'm a {crazy} Indira fan and that she is the person who inspired me to start my own balcony garden.



On the tour we visited some of the gems in Australia's most densely populated suburb, including my beloved Room 10 Espresso, Monople, PoHo Florist and the Potts Point Market.  We were also lucky enough to pay a visit to Indira's garden - you can read about my other visit to her garden here.


I'm busting to share with you some of my photos from the tour of the INCREDIBLE rooftop garden at The Wayside Chapel.  The garden is so inspiring. The rooftop area is HUGE and there's even a beehive or two up there.  It is truly an oasis in this busy inner-city suburb.


This incredible space is maintained by visitors to the Wayside Chapel...many of whom are living rough. Some struggle with mental illness, drugs + alcohol. From what we're told life isn't easy, but these people have an opportunity to work in this spectacular garden - garden they've created. For some people it can be the leg up they need into a different life and some of the volunteers have found themselves gardening jobs with various councils and the like.


It may seem like a "so what" kind of thing, but I think involvement in a project like this garden possibly gives people a sense of belonging and ownership of a space and it's somewhere people can come that is tranquil and beautiful. There must be a HUGE sense of achievement when the visitors see their plants growing and thriving.

I love Alan's story -- from the Wayside Chapel website -- I met him on my last visit to the rooftop and he told us that this garden really has changed his life.

“The garden is a haven. A lot of hard work has gone into it and it’s a great little place to get away and relax. The garden has come to life over the last couple of months. I enjoy seeing it grow and the little vegetables are great. I’ve had a bite of the odd lettuce leaf and they’re full of flavour. I was homeless there for a while. I was living on the trains and I got myself into a lot of trouble and was in dire straits; my own fault. Wayside helped me. I became involved in the garden and I feel completely at home here.” – Alan, Day to Day Living Participant

 

I think there's a good message in this garden for all of us -- that connecting with nature, even if it's just one pot on your kitchen windowsill is important for your urban soul.

5 comments:

  1. Great stuff Mel. This is a great way of helping people and what an amazing garden and space. Oh and bees too, love it :)

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  2. Hey Mel, I was on this tour too and I thought the garden was amazing. I'm jealous of your amazing photos! It was lovely meeting you so i decided to check out your blog, very impressed
    Have a look at my article from the day if you're interested :)
    http://www.iatemywaythrough.com/2013/12/potts-point-urban-oasis-tour/

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  3. Helen (grabyourfork)December 17, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    Wow I love this idea of utilising spaces that would otherwise remain idle. The Wayside Chapel garden is growing more than just vegetables - argh, does that sound twee? lol

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  4. LOL, not twee at all. And I know exactly what you mean...I'd make some other gardening pun but I'm not smart enough to come up with anything witty.

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  5. Hi Grace - nice to meet you again! Your post is GREAT -- so much detail. It was a great day, and The Wayside was an amazing place to visit.

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