Back in Spring last year a group of Housing New Zealand tenants got together for afternoon tea with Housing New Zealand staff.
They weren’t to know what would come out of that cup of tea a short but eventful year later.
The conversation turned to gardening and the suggestion was made “What if we had our very own community garden right here in our street?"
And they’ve made it happen.
The ground was tilled, a new shed and compost bins were acquired, raised beds were built and the seeds and seedlings were carefully put into the soil.
All with the help of a small army of volunteers, tenants, neighbours, Menz Shed, the church youth group, interested bystanders and Clean Up Canterbury who gave the project a major boost with the supply of soil, boxing, practical professional advice and other necessities.
And now, their Spring Open Day, held on Friday. Strong healthy strawberry plants ready to fruit, big-hearted round crispy cabbages and cauliflowers, bunches of broccoli and lettuces for the salad days of summer all came out to celebrate. And the butterflies joined in.
Tenants who had put their time and care into making the community garden what it is today celebrated and planned planting for the future – the broccoli, strawberries and cauliflower are going to share their beds with cherry tomatoes, lettuces and tender, tasty spring onions.
Housing New Zealand Tenancy Manager Keri is justifiably proud of the way tenants and volunteers have worked together on the project. "There’s been a lot of work, time and care that’s gone into this garden", she says, "and the results are really rewarding".
Proof of that lies in the strawberries which should be ripe, luscious and ready for the festive season ahead, the creamy white caulis and healthy bunches of broccoli which are poking their heads through the leaves right now.
The gardening power of a shared cup of tea.