Blue Mountains Community Gardens, Katoomba, Australia!
In the Green Bean Connection Newsletters I present a different community garden each month, wishing to emphasize their great diversity of purpose – the ways they are run, what they offer their community, who participates! Some are inner city, others in wilderness areas, some are at schools, for children, some are for training for agricultural jobs, others provide food to low income areas, others are for seniors or disabled gardeners, and there are lovely therapy gardens, both indoors and outdoors!
This month’s featured garden was started in 1992, 20 years ago, far,far away on 3 hectares west of Sydney. It is volunteer operated, has fruit trees, anyone who needs the food is welcome to it.
Specialising in preserving rare and endangered heritage species, the Blue Mountains Community Gardens is organic and runs using permaculture principles, with a highlight being the apple walk through the orchard that contains around 67 varieties of heritage apple trees, and crab apple trees. Other fruit trees dotted around the garden include, pears, quinces, plums, and old-fashioned cherry bushes.
Rather than just being all about growing food, it has developed a big focus on art, music, performance and celebration. It has become a real social hub, hosting all manner of gatherings and festivals. It has the biggest LABYRINTH in the southern hemisphere, built by artist/sculpture Michael Burt. The gardeners have always worked with Council and jointly do the annual Festival of Joy, the Labyrinth being the great performance space for it, chanting, singing, dancing and drumming on it. The Labyrinth was completed on the 13th of October 2006, blessed by Tibetan monks, a truly wonderful labyrinth!!
It is a garden that is used by many groups in many great ways. It’s a very multi-layered place.