Friday, April 26, 2013

Back beyond Bellingen

If you go down to the woods today, you're in for a big surprise. Ms Tagalong thought she was 'going bush' back beyond and beneath Bellingen and was surprised to hear she was going to visit the North Bank Community Garden.

Nomenclature being such a tricky thing in the environs of Bellingen, Ms Tagalong is afeared of naming names but at great risk she says that Ron Kneeguard (or was it Ron Niegaard) from the North Bank Institute, some kind of philosophy group, volunteered to show her around after his Creative Director had said very firmly on the phone that Ms Tagalong should visit, Community Gardens being her kind of thing and all that.

Ms Tagalong didn't realise they do things bigger in Bellingen but seemingly they do if community gardens are anything to go by.

Autumn, change of growing season, blowsy banks of daisies, marigolds and perennial basil flop over the beds hiding end of season tomatoes and zucchini. Clumps of mixed lettuces poke through bare cleared patches, brilliant green and purple; and that was just the first bed!

The ground slopes down to a kitchen and pizza area, a grassy sitting area in front of a stage. To the left and below lie the gardens through the twig hoop, above, the chicken pen and the nursery with seedlings and plants for sale.

Wander, pick and pay. An honesty box if you're not doing any work.

The sheer expanse made Mr Ideasman green. Space for creativity, compost and cuttings. Ms Tagalong was more minded of lush places, and thought of Maddie Grigg who might also be hankering for green spaces away from home. 
Lush view from a lush place

'We aren't actually members,' the Creative Director confided, 'but we do come and pick salad and pop coins in the box.'

A bag of salad safely in the boot the next stop was the edible streetscapes of Bellingen. No honesty box here – just positive encouragement to glean herbs, veggies and salad. A plastic container complete with paper bags sat hopefully under the Real Estate Office's sign.

'People don't tend to take much,' Ron said, 'it doesn't really feel like true gleaning.'

An edible streetscape planting
But the melons had gone. A bedraggled vine sprawled down the black plastic bank outside the school. Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme sprouted happily in the stone pots lining the main road. 
The Potting Shed

Well done North Bank, Community Garden and Institute, in, about and above Bellingen!

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