Wellington Shire Community Assistance Grant Scheme, Community Programs. $5,000
2013 - 2015
The Yarram Community Botanical Gardens, established in 1988, are in much need of renewal. This project aims at revitalising the gardens by removal of dead limbs and trees, removal of pest plants, install two new access gates, construction of paths and beds, replanting of understorey plants, installation of water points and furniture.
When the community group that established the gardens went into recess the gardens slowly declined. This project will bring together many community groups who have taken a renewed interest in the gardens and would like to see them flourish. The groups will work together to undertake much needed planting, pruning, and general gardening as well as look at improving access for all abilities. A number of community working bees and workshops will be conducted to foster ownership and spread the message about the gardens across the wider community. Some of these days are designed to engage other sectors of the community, eg. A teddybears picnic and, a working bee to be held as part of a musical afternoon.
What will be achieved is a revitalised community botanical gardens that is accessible for a wider range of abilities. It will have new plantings and garden infrastructure such as seating. Access will be made easier via new gates. But more importantly than that, the social and physical activity and interaction of a varied range of community groups will provide a range of benefits including the self-esteem that comes from building community and contributing to a worthy cause, as well as knowing you are useful and valued. Understanding will be gained about physical and intellectual abilities and limits by a large section of the community as they work side by side. It will be an environmental asset that will enrich the natural and cultural heritage of the town. Removal of weeds will reduce the chance of weed spread to roadsides, and the nearby bushland as well as local farms and gardens.
Traces of ancient gardens found beneath heavy undergrowth
The Yarram Botanic Gardens are as well known in Yarram as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are in modern day Iraq; most people are vaguely aware they existed but not much else.
So, with sensible shoes, a crumpled old map and a couple of kero lanterns the intrepid Yarram Urban Landcare Brigade set out to find them and lo; they did. The site of approximately three acres shaped like an inverted ‘L’ is very close to the hospital, the medical centre and Yarram District Health. It is also right next door to the Nightingale Park old folks accommodation and Mirridong, so there are plenty of people in that end of town who could use them.
Built in 1988 as a bicentennial project the gardens faded into memory for whatever reason with half the townspeople never having heard of them and those who have, not knowing where they are. Armed with enthusiasm, heavy gloves and a $5,000 community grant from Wellington Shire Council, members of the Yarram Urban Group have scraped and burnt, slashed and raked and planted hundreds of (appropriate) trees and plants after unearthing the original pathways through the gardens. All of this activity occurred after professionals felled dead or dangerous trees and the Mirridong Green Thumbs Team cleaned it all up with a couple of bonfires. It really was tiger snake country due to the long dry grass, but that has been killed or whippered off and piles of undergrowth await removal.
The water diviners successfully located a water meter lost in the dense ti-tree in one corner and found that two out of three water lines are operating. So, we have new plants in their hundreds and taps at either end of the gardens to help them through what is expected to be a very dry summer. After a few more working bees in November and December the gardens will be in suitable condition to be used by the public and we will be putting on events over the summer period to re-introduce the gardens to the town.
Plans are for sausage sizzles, unplugged music events, family picnics and occasional mysterious moonlight festivals, the latter being a nonsense, because we have agreed that the gardens will not be used after dark, due to their proximity to the Nightingale Residential Centre. The gardens were a good idea in the first place and Yarram should be grateful to The Nightingale Trust Society for saving them from completely disappearing. We are certainly pleased the society is happy to work with us to bring them back to life. In something of a coup, we have been given the commemorative benches and wagon wheel which currently sit outside the herd-testing building in Commercial Road which having been sold, necessitate finding a new home. They will be placed just inside the entrance which is a magnificent old post and rail fence.
The gardens will be an ongoing project for Yarram Urban and it will be years before we can say the gardens are complete, but that won’t stop us enjoying them during the process. So please, keep an eye on your inbox, this newsletter and the local paper and come and have a look when we have our first event.