An unloved grass strip has morphed into a productive community garden in Burnside, Christchurch.
The new Monarch Community Garden in Kendal Ave opened in mid-August, nine months after the idea was raised by tenants at an afternoon tea hosted by Housing New Zealand.
"What if we had our very own community garden right here, in our street?"
Tenancy Manager Keri has worked with Asset Manager Ryan to secure the unused Housing New Zealand driveway, next to St Timothy’s Church, for temporary access for a garden. Volunteers have mucked in enthusiastically. These include tenants and neighbours, Bishopdale Menz Shed, the church youth group, and CleanUp Canterbury.
Already the Monarch Garden is a well-loved community asset. There are a new shed and compost bins, and four raised beds with cabbages, spring onions, lettuces, broccoli and strawberries well underway. Children from the kindergarten across the road have been over to watch the garden coming together and being planted. There are plans for groups to paint panels along the fence, and swan plants dotted around will attract butterflies.
Keri said this initiative was about people interacting and helping each other.
"Kendal Ave residents have really embraced the garden, and the support from various groups has been tremendous. CleanUp Canterbury, one of our PBMC contractors, provided timber and nails, hosereels and the shed. They say they’d like to see gardens such as this right across the city, and would be happy to help."
The last word goes to our tenant Jackie, who has been a stalwart of the garden:
"When you start flying with a dream it’s amazing how many catch the wind."