Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia


Community Gardeners Awarded

Community Greening is a joint program between the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust and Housing NSW. The two Community Greening staff, Phil Pettitt and Elizabeth Docking, travel far and wide to work with predominantly Housing NSW residents on garden projects. Some very dedicated volunteers work in community gardens and Phil and Elizabeth felt some senior gardeners were worthy of nomination for the NSW Seniors Week Achievement Awards. One of their nominees was selected amongst the 12 successful individual applicants. Marjorie Mead from Bidwill won a highly commended award in the Intergenerational Understanding category.
Marjorie has been a committed volunteer in the Bidwill Community Garden since 2004. When Marjorie first started she was the only volunteer. Since then she has encouraged many people to become involved in the garden and garden events. Marjorie played a pivotal role in having a community nursery established on the site of the garden. Community Greening supplies the nursery with plants each month, generously donated by Eden Gardens and Oasis Horticulture. These are distributed to Housing NSW residents in the area.

Marjorie is at the garden 3-4 times per week, working with Juvenile Justice clients, other volunteers, running a Kid's Club, involvement with the nursery, fundraising activities, school holiday activities and tending to the latest additions to the nursery and garden - the resident chooks. Marjorie is always looking for grant opportunities to further expand the gardens and the activities that can be held there. For the second year running, a grant was received to run a Senior’s Week garden event, where Marjory and the volunteers and Elizabeth from Community Greening visit a senior’s complex, conduct the workshop and organise a lunch.

The development of the garden and nursery, much due to the stewardship of Marjorie, has been recognized by awards such as Keep Australia Beautiful and the local Council's Sustainability Awards and numerous Community Garden awards. Grant applications have been successful for running school holiday programs, incorporating chooks into the garden and getting a composting toilet on site. The grants are submitted with the aim of making this garden space accessible to the community to learn new skills, encourage residents to garden and have a fun extension to their own backyards.

Marjorie also propagates her own plants for the purpose of selling to fundraise for the garden, and she makes crafts for the same purpose. The garden and her community are Marjorie’s focus and she is very proud of this wonderful facility and the major role she has made to its evolution.

Marjorie received her certificate from Aunty Ruth Simms and Imelda Dodds at Parliament House Sydney during Seniors Week. The Community Greening team is very proud of Marjory and the many volunteers that make such successful community gardens possible.

Another of our amazing Community Gardeners, Ms Fay Rothero of Hamilton South, has also been recognised for her efforts - with flowers and a certificate. The award was presented by State Member Tim Owen and caught by NBN local news crew and featured in the local Newcastle Post. Fay has been helping to bring a sense of peace and sanctuary to her public housing block, in the form of a garden. For 13 years, Fay has helped other resident's plant and maintain a garden, grow vegetables, cook and organise social activities and workshops. Fay was nominated by the Royal Botanic Garden’s Community Greening team.