Gardens have the power to bring communities together and become a meeting place for people from all walks of life to enjoy nature. Since 2009 Youth Community Greening (YCG), an outreach program dedicated to helping kids and teens learn horticulture skills, has establish hundreds of gardens in disadvanted communities all over New South Wales.
Recently the YCG team connected students from Moorefield Girls High School with residents from the St George Hospital community cancer care lodge at Bezzina House to create an amazing welcoming garden space.
Bezzina House provides home-away-from-home accommodation for cancer patients undergoing outpatient or inpatient treatment at the St George Hospital and for their carers. There are 15 self-contained units, which overlook a tidy garden courtyard. However, the outside street appeal needed some love and attention as it had become overrun with invasive plants.
A garden makeover
The school saw this as an opportunity to incorporate this gardening project into their peer support program by inviting Year 7 students and Year 10 peer support leaders to take part.
The YCG team, Bezzina House staff and students removed the existing plants which had taken over the space and out competed more appealing, native plants. Once the garden area was cleared the students showed off their landscape design skills.
It was fascinating to see the students working together pitching their ideas and the different concepts on how the space should look. Eventually consensus was reached, and all the plants were placed out in the garden. The students stood back and once a few subtle changes were made, the plants were ready to go into the ground.
A big thanks you to Alpine Nursery who donated many of the plants. Throughout the morning 75 plants were planted and the space had been transformed to an inviting garden of contrasting colours and textures, providing a wonderful first impression for those patients receiving treatment at the hospital.
As a result of YCG bringing Bezzina House and Moorefield GHS together, students from the school’s support unit travel to Bezzina House once a fortnight and volunteer with general maintenance. This provides wonderful support for the service and also opportunities for the girls to learn vocational skills.
More information about YCG and how you can get involved can be viewed here.