The garden is an impressive asset for the community. It’s a joint project of the local Landcare group and the school, featuring 150 square metres of planter beds.
Woodend Primary School’s Community Children’s Garden includes 150 square metres of planter beds.
The garden was originally designed by celebrated garden designer Michael McCoy, whose children attended the school. An indigenous garden was added in 2019, including the local, endangered Woodend Black Gum.
Nicole Middleton leads the 25-strong volunteer group that manage the garden. She brings a science lens to the project, focused on giving children hands-on, practical lessons from the experienced gardeners involved.
Before the irrigation system was installed this month, the garden was hand-watered by students and volunteers with water collected from the school’s rainwater tanks. This often took over an hour to complete and was difficult to maintain during school holidays, resulting in plant losses and inefficient water use.
The new drip irrigation system – made possible by a $3,780 grant - will help deliver the right amount of water to plants at the most efficient time of day all year round, resulting in better fruit and vegetable crops.
It can be programmed to water different sections of the garden at different times to suit various plant needs, including night time watering to reduce evaporation.
Community members at the opening of Woodend Community Garden.
Member for Macedon, Mary-Anne Thomas visited the garden last week to see first-hand the benefits the system will bring to the school’s community.
Those benefits extend beyond the schoolgrounds, providing a strong sense of community for parents and local volunteers as a place to connect with each other and nature as they maintain the space.
Food grown at the school is offered for fundraising or taken home by students and volunteers, with excess produce to be donated to the Woodend Neighbourhood House food bank and community lunches.