Outhwaite Road Heidelberg Heights

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Revisiting another winner from last year’s competition today. Clare Dyson from Heidelberg Heights together with the local transition group lobbied their local government last year in relation to being allowed to plant on the verge… Almost a year later and all looks to be going well..

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It feels great to have a nature strip that promotes neighbourly banter. After a gruelling few weeks of removing, by hand, the couch grass that covered the 14x4m area (minus the few thousand weed patches and what seemed like 7000 wheelbarrow loads of dead grass) we spread a load of compost, made some swales, planted and mulched the area on Grand final day while the rest of then neighbourhood were all watching TV! As the cheer from what seemed like the whole population was heard after the final siren, we were happily putting in the last few plants and watering in our new garden.

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The response from passers by was almost immediate. From the ‘you’ve got your work cut out for you there’. I was receiving while ripping out grass, to ‘good on you’ and ‘wow’ now that it was (almost) finished.

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We have planted a Feijoa, a Cape Gooseberry, Dwarf Pomegranate, Blueberry plants, Artichokes, Rhubarb, Heirloom Sunflower seeds and Nasturtiums, Sage and Basil, Lawn Chamomile and Lawn Thyme. There is silverbeet sprouting up everywhere. Lettuce is next and there was talk about planting some cucumbers.

We have put in a couple of swales to catch the rainwater runoff and a tree stump was found that now forms a seat or a platform that kids use as a stage.

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Even though I had already connected with a few like-minded people in our community, I had no idea that were would be so many. People stop and have a chat while we are out there, or stop and have a look while passing by. The produce is not quite ready for the picking, just yet (except for the Silverbeet of course!) but I can’t wait until there is enough to share. There’s something quite exciting about watching something you’ve put your heart into start to grow. The seeds are starting to sprout and there are even some blueberries forming. I also learnt that no matter how dead you think Jerusalem Artichokes are, once they sniff a pile of fresh compost they multiple, rapidly!

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In the upcoming weeks I am planning to host a small gathering or garden unveiling with the people who helped me with the planning, designing and planting. It will be great to get the community involved again and to celebrate being on the verge of a new era. This space will be constantly evolving and their ideas and input is necessary for the garden to thrive.

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PS This note was written by my 8yr old son who thought it would be ‘great to share our stuff with people’.
The day after this we received a note back from a passing neighbour thanking us for making such a beautiful oasis for people to walk past that smells so good. So now our ‘seat’ tree stump has turned into something more. I’m loving it!

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About Juliette

When Juliette was little, she came home from school and asked her mum in her little teary voice why the other kids at school didn’t like her. Her mum reassured her and said 'Don't worry Juliette, you're just different. That's all.' Since then, aware of her obvious difference to everyone else, Juliette is spending her time doing exactly what people wish to be doing – exactly what she wants. This blog is a celebration of taking a deep breath and just doing it. Currently Juliette can be found sipping tea and gardening somewhere in Central Victoria, Australia with her beloved and their excitable boys. She is also completing her PhD in Civic Agriculture and teaches at RMIT in Sustainable Consumption and Design Activism.

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