Friday, November 23, 2012

November News

We held the 2012 MCG AGM recently. If you would like to read a summary of the year's impressive achievements, from winning a Keep Australia Beautiful Award for Mackie Lane to helping schools and other community groups build food gardens, click here to read the President's report 

Garden Update
The Mackie Lane and Middle Head gardens are in full swing and looking great with the new season’s growth now well underway. The report from Middle Head garden coordinator is that it is very happy! At Mackie Lane, it is 'all systems go' preparing for the garden extension, with the area cleared of debris and the platform for the first stage of 6 large garden beds now finalised. We continue to source construction materials, but a portion of the materials for the next building phase such as hardwood fencing and garden soil have been kindly donated. Kimbriki has generously agreed to assist with the donation of some recycled materials as part of their commitment to supporting community gardens. Ausgrid has helped greatly by approving the placement of garden beds with impervious bases over the ‘green’ zones of the site allowing us to take advantage of a greater area for planting. 

Beauty Point Public School veggie garden and Uniting Church community garden
A team of MCG members worked with enthusiastic Beauty Point parents and students to build veggie gardens last week with materials donated by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Around 50 people joined in. MCG members also helped with the building of a community garden at the Neutral Bay Uniting Church and we will continue to give advice and assistance. These are just two wonderful examples of the broader work that Mosman Community Gardeners do in the community.

Verge Gardens
Not long ago there were very few nature strip gardens in the suburb. Now there are many inspiring examples and Mosman Council is also supportive. We are continuing to record and promote Mosman verge gardens on our website, so if you have photos of your garden, or any other food garden that you would like to share, please email them to us.

Thank you
Thank you for your support throughout the year. We hope to see you at the gardens. In the meantime, best wishes for the holiday season.

cheers Tina
President Mosman Community Gardeners

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Year in Review - President's Report 2012

Mosman Community Gardeners
Annual General Meeting November 2012

President's ReportTina Jackson

2012 has been a year of huge growth and success for Mosman Community Gardeners (MCG). Our gardens more than doubled in size, our membership and partnerships grew and our sponsorship and financial support increased. We received a Keep Australia Beautiful Award and significantly raised the profile of community gardening in Mosman. We have shown what a dedicated community group with limited financial resources can achieve with vision and determination.

Highlights of 2012

 Transformation of a wasteland into an oasis

Around this time last year Ausgrid gave us permission to build a garden on their land at Mackie Lane, with the support of Mosman Council. In just four months our enthusiastic team of volunteers turned a deserted weed infested industrial site into an oasis, growing mostly edible plants using the principles of sustainable gardening. We built raised beds on the concrete slabs left behind from the old workshops using recycled and donated materials.  

No edible plants have direct contact with the original soil in case of soil contamination, and higher beds have been built for the elderly and people with mobility issues. Our gardens are chemical free and our imported garden bed soil is enriched with composted kitchen scraps and recycled green waste compost. Seed stock is collected for future planting and to be shared. A practical example of temporary urban farming, the Mackie Lane Community Garden is an exemplar for how other disused city sites can be 
put to productive use for the benefit of the community.

The Mayor of Mosman officially opened the garden in February 2012 and many local residents joined us for the celebration. Since then an unexpected outcome has been the constant stream of visitors and high level of community engagement. Children come for educational visits from local schools; residents from the adjacent retirement home take an active interest in the garden's progress and are encouraged to help themselves to the mixed herb pots along the fence. People who have lived in the neighbourhood for over a decade report meeting their neighbours for the first time.

Recognition of our achievements

In recognition of our achievements, Mosman Community Gardeners was honoured to receive the inaugural 2012 Keep Australia Beautiful Award for Sustainable Gardens for Mackie Lane, against some formidable competition. A further endorsement of our enterprise was the recent agreement by Ausgrid and Mosman Council to double the size of the Mackie Lane garden by moving the fence adjoining the vacant land.

Middle Head expansion
Our partnership with the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) at Middle Head continues, and with their support, we have expanded the gardens and planted a bush tucker garden. MCG members generously volunteered their time to assist NPWS with events at the Soldiers’ Institute, preparing delicious food with produce from the garden.

Our partnerships grew and strengthened
Mosman Council again awarded us a community grant and Council staff have individually joined MCG. We received generous in-kind support from Bunnings and Honeysuckle Nursery and very welcome financial sponsorship from Bendigo Bank. Kimbriki kindly supplied recycled materials free of charge and we received ongoing financial assistance from Mosman Council to purchase soil, manure and mulch. We are grateful to Ausgrid and the National Parks and Wildlife Service for allowing us to garden on their land and for their ongoing support.

We assisted Mosman Home Gardeners with the Big Lunch for the third year in a row. Other community partners included the Mosman Climate Challenge Group who kindly gave us a donation, Cancer Council North Shore Relay for Life, the Men’s Shed and the Mosman Daily, which promoted the garden throughout the year and helped us raise awareness in the community.

Education and outreach
Our gardens point the way to living sustainably in an urban environment showing planting tips, waste minimisation, composting and water usage techniques that can be used by people in their own homes. This year we held demonstrations on topics such as worm farms and composting and will expand our offerings next year. MCG members helped set up a community garden at Neutral Bay Uniting Church, build vegetable gardens Beauty Point Public School, assisted NPWS with corporate volunteer days and forged links with the Carriageworks Kitchen Garden Project. We also continue to encourage gardening on nature strips. Not long ago there were very few verge gardens in the suburb, now there are many inspiring examples. We promote this and other progress on our website and via our regular email updates to a growing support base.

We also have a lot of fun. During the Mackie Lane construction phase, for example, there was much eating and drinking as well as hard work! Our gardens are welcoming places where people can learn how to cultivate edible plants, as well as to share food and connect with neighbours and friends.

Team effort
MCG members have shared their vast array of skills, from gardening and gardening design to building and construction, communications, publicity and marketing, proposal writing, cooking, management and accounting. Many have visited other gardens and attended conferences and talks for inspiration, and helped spread the word to friends and potential supporters.

I thank our wonderful volunteers and MCG office bearers for generously giving their time and expertise throughout the year.

Outlook for 2013
Our future is bright; we have a great volunteer team, a large new space to garden and growing support for the cause from the community. With two successful gardens and an expanding outreach and education program, Mosman Community Gardeners is well on the way to fulfilling its vision of fostering community and home food gardening throughout the suburb. Growing vegetables, once seen as part of an alternative lifestyle, is becoming mainstream once again.

Tina Jackson
21 November 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Spring News

Here is the latest news from Mosman Community Gardeners.
If you would like to receive our monthly e-news contact us at 

Mackie Lane Garden Expands
Ausgrid and Mosman Council have agreed to extend Mackie Lane garden to cover the remaining hard surfaces on the site.  Mosman Council has generously agreed to move the fence and work is scheduled for this week. 
A new garden plan will be developed with Mackie Lane gardeners and new gardens beds built over the next few months.

Mosman Council Community Grant
Mosman Council has provided MCG with a $2,000 financial assistance community grant to assist with the development of Mackie Lane garden and community education.

Mosman Climate Challenge Group Donation
We are very grateful to the Mosman Climate Challenge Group (MCCG) who have made a donation to the gardens of $250.  MCCG organised the screening of the 'Honeybee Blues' documentary which was a sell out event. The donation is a contribution from the ticket sales.

Mackie Lane News
Thanks to Loani Tierney from Mosman Council for her informative, hands on session on worm farms – and Mosman Council for their generous donation of additional worm farms for the garden. Our second ‘seed planting bee’ saw a great turn out of helpers with some 2 dozen varieties planted – well and truly getting ready for Spring.

August’s ferocious wind storms saw the greenhouse and some of our seedlings take a bit of a battering but on the whole, the garden weathered it all remarkably well – and the scarecrow’s still standing!

MCG Membership
MCG membership renewals are due by the end of September. Thank you to everyone who has already renewed.  if you are not already a member, you can join  MCG in two ways. Individual memberships are  $50 pa and family membership $75 pa.  There is a $1 joining fee.  Just email us at this email address and we can send you all the information.

Gardening membership fees go towards the costs of insurance, building beds, planting, maintenance and advocacy.  Gardening members share in the planting, care and harvesting of beds. MCG provides support to organisations and individuals setting up gardens and we are working with Mosman Council to establish more gardens in the suburb. We are also very keen to help people establish verge gardens - let us know if you would like to build one, or know someone that does.

Hope to see you in the gardens sometime.

cheers Tina

President  Mosman Community Gardeners

Thursday, August 2, 2012

August News - Keep Australia Beautiful Award

If you would like to receive our monthly e-news contact us at 

Keep Australia Beautiful Award

Mosman Community Gardeners has been awarded the Sustainable Garden Award for Mackie Lane Community Garden, ‘Growing Community: creating and nurturing community gardens’ project in the Keep Australia Beautiful NSW Sustainable Cities Awards 2012. 

Riverwood Community Centre and Randwick City Council were runners up. The awards were presented at the Sustainable Cities Awards dinner, hosted by Kogarah City Council and Keep Australia Beautiful NSW on Thursday night, 26th July. 

Bernie Murphy, CEO of Keep Australia Beautiful NSW, said in a media release:  “As a new category this year, Keep Australia Beautiful NSW had high expectations for entries in Sustainable Gardens and we weren’t disappointed. Many gardens across metro Sydney entered and the competition was very close." 

"These gardens are very popular at the moment and are a great place for communities to come together to learn new skills, support healthy habitats, as well as native flora and fauna which are so important in metro areas."

"The long term sustainability of our cities depends on us being able to conserve the natural environment; to live alongside it and incorporate it into our space. We warmly congratulate Mosman Community Gardens, Riverwood Community Centre and Randwick City Council for their outstanding efforts, just as we congratulate all those who entered”. 

Congratulations to everyone who worked on building Mackie Lane, with special thanks to Flicc Walsh who designed the garden and guided its construction.

Mackie Lane News
Mackie Lane is getting ready for Spring: the first of a series of special Saturday sessions has just been held, and the next is planned for Sat 25 Aug at 2pm at Mackie Lane (weather permitting). We have also recently commenced a mid-week session in the garden to which all members are welcome – Wednesday afternoons at 2pm; a quieter time to potter around and especially good for those that find Sunday afternoons a little tricky to manage.

Although the weather has been challenging over winter, Mackie Lane has continued to attract a strong and steady following on Sunday afternoons – all welcome from 3pm.  
We celebrated National Tree Planting Day (Sun 29 July) with the addition of a kaffir lime tree to Mackie Lane for all to enjoy. Sunday 12 August there will be a Worm Farm Demonstration by the Mosman Council Environment and Education Officer, Loani Tierney.

MCG is discussing the possibility of extending Mackie Lane garden with Ausgrid and Mosman Council. Our discussions have been positive and we hope to bring you more news next month.

Middle Head Garden
Gardening times as usual - Tuesdays and Sundays 3-5pm.

North Sydney Council Coal Loader Events
North Sydney Council runs a range of excellent Green events which are free and number of MCG members have been attending. Bookings can be made on line

Hope to see you at the gardens sometime. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

July News

If you would like to receive our regular e-news contact us at

Mackie Lane
Mackie gardeners have elected the Mackie Lane Subcommittee to manage the garden.

    Chair - Peter Hook
    Garden Co-ordinator - Silvana Griffin
    Membership & Secretary MCG - Gill Lee
    Publicity & President MCG - Tina Jackson
    Material Supplies / Building - Lachlan Imrie, Chris Lee, Nick Collis-George
    Childrens’ Activities - Lindy Spencer 

The garden has been in development since October 2011 under the guidance of an MCG appointed interim committee. Our thanks go to members of the interim committee Gill Lee, Nick Collis-George, Tina Jackson and especially garden coordinator Flicc Walsh, who designed the garden, guided construction and devised the first  planting plan.

Mackie Lane  has organised gardening on Wednesday afternoons 2pm to 4 pm and Sundays 3pm to 5pm.

Bendigo Bank
We also have some very good news. Bendigo Bank has provided $1,000 sponsorship support for the Mackie Lane Community Garden. This is a significant contribution and takes some pressure off the cost of maintaining gardens.  Bendigo Bank Mosman is at Military Rd, Spit Junction.

MCG Membership
MCG membership renewals will be forwarded to members in July. if you are not already a member you can join MCG in two ways. Individual memberships are $50 pa and a family membership is $75 pa. There is a $1 joining fee.

Gardening membership fees go towards the costs of insurance, building beds, planting, maintenance and advocacy. Gardening members share in the planting, care and harvesting of beds.

MCG provides support to organisations and individuals setting up gardens and we are working with Mosman Council to establish more gardens in the suburb.

Monday, April 30, 2012

National Permaculture Day 6 May 2012

Mackie Lane Community Garden will be open on Sunday 6 May from 3 pm to 5 pm.

We have transformed an urban industrial site into a thriving community garden and community meeting place. The garden is built from recycled materials on a concrete slab.

We follow permaculture principles.

The garden is managed by Mosman Community Gardeners Inc. New members are welcome.

View Mackie Lane in a larger map

 For a full listing of National Permaculture Day events see their website