Community Greening and Mission Australia's Benjamin Short Grove aged care facility won the Australian Institute of Horticulture Green Space Regional Award for creating an inviting and interactive garden for the residents to connect. The award is the residents second major recognition following the Keep Australia Beautiful award in 2018.
The Green Space accolade recognises how the Community Greening program helped foster close relationships between the local communities who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, it also represents how horticulture can bring people together.
All 60 residents at Benjamin Short Grove participated in monthly hands on activities to help maintain the garden beds and native trees. Community Greening horticultural therapist Elizabeth Docking has worked closely with Mission Australia and other valued partners to provide an interactive and inviting garden for the residents to increase their mental and physical health.
“The residents are proud of their garden that has become a place to be creative, learn, relax, exercise and connect with nature and country. To have this recognition from the Australian Institute of Horticulture is an honour,” Elizabeth Docking said.
This gardening project is more than a pretty display, it has encouraged stronger communication between diverse age and cultural groups providing a sense of well-deserved pride and accomplishment.
Residents also enter the horticulture section of the Orange Agriculture Show every year and fund ongoing community garden projects by selling plants from their nursery.
Collections for the Return and Earn recycling scheme also assist with funding including recent fruit trees plantings to create an orchard in the garden. Earlier this year, an expansion of the garden, worm farm and two frog ponds were installed with help of local sponsors and the Australian Museum Frog ID citizen science project. Community Greening provides a Horticulturist to run workshops, provide advice and support with project planning.
Many vulnerable residents from the facility were impacted by COVID-19 restrictions meant no visitations and the ceasing of many recreational programs. However they had an amazing garden full of visual appeal, colourful plants, visits from friendly insect and bird pollinators onsite to enjoy.
Docking reassured, “through the pandemic, the residents of the Benjamin Short Grove facility have benefited from the groundwork in developing the gardens, supported by Community Greening. Residents continue to benefit from engagement in their latest outdoor projects, including the Work Shed, Yarning Circle and the creation of new gardens.”
If you would like to learn more about the Community Greening click here.