Coffee-powered morning in the garden

Sydney summer is in full swing! It's hot, and it's humid, too. Recent rains have filled the rain gauge to the brim. The warm wet weather means the garden is prolific: the zucchini plants are putting on one zucchini after the next, the tamarillo tree is laden with fruit, and the cucumbers are flowering whilst producing plump cucumbers. 

A beautiful, crunchy cucumber from the communal bed (upper garden wall bed). Yum! 

A beautiful, crunchy cucumber from the communal bed (upper garden wall bed). Yum! 

Weeding is a good job to do now (isn't it always ;-) ?) to help vegies grow. And a feed is important, too. With so much to do yet so few cool(ish) hours of the day we have moved the Sunday working bees forward to the morning, commencing at 9AM.  

J.,  a PermaPatch member has been pulling out weeds since the start this morning. Sweat drops glisten on her forehead and there is  is a big smile on her face "I love this garden!" "Look at these beautiful little flowers" she says pointing to the sage showing off red and white hues "they add so much colour". And they are edible, too, adding a bit of colour when sprinkled over salads. 

This morning we are joined by our very own barista, T. from PermaCulture Sydney North. He is manning the coffee machine and makes sure nobody goes without a coffee to fuel our work efforts. And there is homemade cake, too - what great way to start the day! 

Come one, come all - morning tea (coffee) at the Community Garden! 

Come one, come all - morning tea (coffee) at the Community Garden! 

We also had bee-keepers inspect our hives. Unfortunately, unwanted beetles have taken over, driving out the bees. The infested boxes needed to be removed. 

This might be a bit of a relief for those of you who need to be careful around bees because of allergic reactions to beestings. Our bee-keeper has some good advice: "Avoid wearing any colourful clothing, or perfume". Basically anything that a bee might mistake as a flower. Also, bees can be attracted by the glistening of eyes, so wearing sunglasses is another good tip to keep bees away. 

Eventually we'd like to get another beehive established because they are so important. And in previous years we were able to treat our members to beautifully cold-filtered honey  straight from the garden. So hopefully we'll soon be able to welcome a new beehive!

The pawpaw tree (located at the southern border of the lower garden) in full bloom.

The pawpaw tree (located at the southern border of the lower garden) in full bloom.

All in all a beautiful morning in the garden - thanks to all who contributed with coffee and cake, hard work and community spirit. 

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Big win for community garden at election day fundraiser

It was still dark when the first group of volunteers arrived to set up the barbecue and cake stall for the election day fundraiser at the Chatswood Uniting Church polling station. 

With the smell of sizzling beacon and onions filling their crisp morning air, it didn't take long for the first voters to order a sausage, bacon and egg sandwich, or get a sweet breakfast treat.

Many members and friends of the garden had baked the night before: Our cake stall boasted banana bread and pecan nut loaves in different sizes, date and walnut rolls, gingerbread, macadamia chocolate cookies, jam drops, heart-shaped coconut cakes, traditional fruit and zesty lemon cakes, scones with jam and cream, and many many beautifully decorated cupcakes. Not to forget the chilli jam and tomato relishes - our stall spelled "pure temptation".

                                                          Kim's colourful democracy cupcakes

                                                          Kim's colourful democracy cupcakes

Compared to previous years, fewer voters were registered at the polling station, and we could certainly tell the difference. Yet many more stopped at our stalls, giving us the opportunity to talk to them about the garden.

So all the hard work and many hours manning the stalls and sizzling sausages paid off: We managed to raise $960 for the community garden on the day!  This is massive! It's also a nice increase compared to last year.

A big thank you to everybody involved, whether it was baking, barbecuing, buying, or organising  - your help is much appreciated and will make a real difference to the garden. The biggest thank you goes to the master organiser, mobiliser, and motivator of the day, the lovely Kim. She made sure it all came together - without her work the fundraiser would not have happened - and it would not have been as much fun! Thank you, Kim!

Election Day Fundraiser - The Legend Of The Sausage

It's that time again, you can't open a newspaper or switch on a TV or even answer your phone without somebody talking in a deep, eery voice about the doom each opposing party is promising... Most of us have become quite cynical about our civic duty and the democracy we live in... There is however one shining light in the darkness of our current political landscape... And that is the ubiquitous election day sausage sizzle and cake sale...!! YAY!!!!

Happiness is a warm sausage... 

Happiness is a warm sausage... 

Vote 1 for the cupcake party!

Vote 1 for the cupcake party!

One of our members, Kerry Awia Markey, took these great photos at the 2013 Federal Election fundraiser that we did... Doesn't everything look so delicious? Election day sausage sizzles and cake stall are one of PermaPatch's biggest fundraising opportunities and is a fun day for everyone! There's lots of ways to get involved... bake a cake, a loaf, some cookies or cupcakes, help prep on the Friday from 3:30pm - 6:30pm or help on election day, manning the cake stall or bbq. Come for just an hour or stay all day... every bit of help counts!!

Email us at to let us know how you can help!

Mandy's Open Garden

Hi – As you may already know, my garden is in the Open Gardens Australia scheme on 29th and 30th of this month. The flyer they have made for me is attached.

Would love you to come and have a look at the 150 species of edibles growing here, flowers, natives, edible sharing verge and of course – the chooks! We have talks, home-made lemon butter, jams etc, tea, coffee and cake, home-made elderflower cordial, home-grown (no sprays) plants and some shady or sunny spots to sit and chat or relax. There is also going to be a sculpture trail with some small sculptures for sale. Doug Purdie, The Urban Beekeeper, is coming to talk about his new book – how to keep bees in the city – even on top of tall city buildings!

I would be very glad if you could pass this flyer on to anyone you think might be interested. We are raising funds for our community garden, that we started about 6 years ago and is now going really It is completely community run and unfunded, other than a Council grant when we are lucky. Like my garden, it is run on Permaculture lines and a local hub for learning about sustainable living – growing your own food is one great way to reduce your carbon footprint – and eat great food while you’re doing it!  

When my garden was open two years ago, we had a lot of visitors and a lot of fun. This will be the last time, as Open Gardens Australia is sadly folding up next year.

Thanks so much. Mandy Stubbs

International Permaculture Open Day

We were awash in tea and cake for the afternoon. Leaflets fluttering; sunflower 'windmills' nearly taking off in the wind gusts; members sweeping against the odds, and visitors visiting. Plenty of chat, eating, membership enquiries, Permaculture and community spirit. Raised about $130 in teas, honey, marmalade, chilli jam and herb sales for the community garden. Well done everyone who joined in and made delicious items to sell. There are still some left, so ask if you would like anything.

Upcoming Events - Workshops and Open Days

Come along and share some afternoon tea in the gardens on Sunday 4th May between 2 and 4 p.m. International Permaculture Day celebrates sustainable living and gives people a chance to have a look at how others are growing amazing gardens of edibles, without poisons. Other Sydney gardens will be open. Have a look at the International Permaculture website for more information.

Learn more about how to get started with Permaculture at our workshop at the gardens on Sunday 18th May at 2 p.m. Also afternoon tea. See Events page for more information.

Pastralia Day - Australia Day Long Weekend

Over 20 members turned up for our Australia Day Long Weekend celebration.  Gary had prepared a lovely spicy cherry tomato sauce from an earlier harvest of our garden's tomatoes and everybody pigged out on that and lots of scrumptious accompaniments that were shared by all.  More tomatoes were harvested and eaten fresh off the vine.  Everybody present decided it was a great success and should become a tradition from here on in!  Hurrah!