Glovers, Sydney’s heritage garden — a photo essay
Photos and story by Russ Grayson 2009.
GLOVERS COMMUNITY GARDEN is a heritage garden, a historic site that marks the dawn of community gardening in NSW. It also marks a successful and long-lived example of community initiative and enterprise.
The first community garden in NSW, from its founding in 1985 Glovers has attracted a changing population of gardeners and continues to do so. Like other gardens, Glovers has gone through ups and downs in participation, however the garden continues in existence because it has evolved with gardener needs.
This photo essay celebrates the continuing, edible presence that is Glovers Community Garden…
A welcoming sign
There’s nothing like a big, bold sign to make a community garden a welcoming place, and Glovers does just that.
Standing in the garden are Glover’s spokeswoman, Jane Mowbray, and a visitor from Newtown Community Garden.
Then and now
The photos above and below show changes in the garden. They were made looking in the same direction over Glovers Community Garden. The above was made sometime in the 1990s. The below was made in August 2009.
The building above still exists, only now it is hidden from this viewpoint by trees. The garden beds have been remade and are now edged with roofing tile seconds. New fruit trees have grown. There are now a small number of allotments whereas the garden pictured in the 1990s was a shared community garden only.
Bees and chickens make up the small, productive urban animals kept by the gardeners.
The bees are cared for by someone with the necessary expertise and their honey has been sold as a fundraiser.
Chickens have long been a presence in Glovers Community Garden.
The planting of fruit trees within the chook yard makes use of the design principle of multifunction — of deriving additional uses for something in addition to its primary use.
The chook house is conveniently large, sufficient to accommodate the number of chickens that are kept by the gardeners and also of a size that makes cleaning and maintenance easy.
The 200 litre fuel drums seen on the left of the chook house are connected in series by a pipe so that stored rainwater, harvested from the roof of the chook house, flows to a tap from which the gardeners can fill watering cans to irrigate garden beds or otherwise make use of the water.
Gardeners say that they have become something of a dumping ground for unwanted roosters — a number have been tossed over the fence into the chook yard.
Productive tree fruits, too
Glovers gardeners have established a number of citrus and other fruit trees to supplement the herbs and vegetables, eggs, and honey that their garden yields.
Sturdy garden edges and productive beds
Annual and perennial vegetables are the vegetative backbone of any community garden. They are what provides gardeners with a continuing supply of fresh, nutritious food that changes with the seasons.
It is the cultivation of vegetables by which gardeners learn of the seasonality of our food supply and the primary role of fertile soils and rainfall in making that available. Some gardeners describe this learing as ‘getting back in touch with nature’.
The climate, the weather, the soils, propagating the plants from seed to seed through new cycles of life, watering and caring for them and, all the time, acquiring the knowledge that comes through the understanding of others and from practice and observation — this is how nature is experienced and combined with human understanding in community gardens in our cities.