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Community thrives at Monastery garden


There has been a flurry of activity at The Monastery in recent weeks as a core group of volunteers has been busy getting the gardens ready for the hot summer months ahead.

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Sitting on about 3.7 hectares at the top of Cross Road, Urrbrae, the expansive grounds are host to a wide variety of plants, fruits and vegetables, shrubs and trees and vast stretches of lawn.

The Monastery is home to the Passionist Community of Adelaide and the parish of St Paul of the Cross.

Part time gardener John Allen and his team of about six regular volunteers have spent several weeks spreading about 10 tonnes of mulch donated by local businesses to ensure the gardens survive the hot weather ahead. They have also planted more than 170 shrubs and trees along the northern border to reduce noise levels, add visual appeal and also attract more birdlife to the area.

“Keeping the garden looking so good would not be possible without the help of the volunteers,” John said during a break from shoveling mulch.

The volunteers come from the wider community and some are also part of Centrelink programs.

Fiona Booker, who has a large garden of her own to tend, said she enjoyed spending a couple of days a week helping out at The Monastery.

“Who doesn’t love being outdoors on such a beautiful sunny day?” she said.

Yvi Ullmer added it was great being outside in the fresh air and seeing the plants growing.

“It’s very peaceful here,” she said.

Despite being busy outdoors working on an array of projects, all of the volunteers agreed that stopping for a ‘cuppa and chat’ was an important part of their day.

Next year John and his team hope to further develop the grounds by establishing a community garden, in line with Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ which calls for everyone to care for ‘our common home’. It will have garden beds where the vegetables and fruit grown can be shared by the volunteer gardeners and used in The Monastery’s kitchen.

Already there is a vegetable patch tended by members of the Glen Osmond/Parkside parish’s youth group, however John said the community garden would be a much larger project.

“We’ve had this vision for the past nine months but it’s been a pretty abnormal year so we definitely want to get started next year,” he said.

The project will have strong links to the Men’s Shed based at The Monastery, with its members getting involved in building the garden bed structures and seating areas.

For more information about volunteering in the community garden, or to make a donation towards its establishment, contact The Monastery on 8338 1277.




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