The secret garden on Bondi Road has been in operation since 2010 by Transition Bondi members and volunteers. A vacant land in the rear of a block of flats was lent to us (Land share arrangement) to be designed as a community garden as a generous gesture by its owner. Lance Lieber, the founder of Transition Bondi, with the help of others, has been shaping this garden into what it is now today by using permaculture design principles. The garden also functions as a hub for garden-related workshops and beekeeping.
Because of its lack of visibility from the street, for those of us who haven’t seen the garden, it’s hard to imagine such a place even exists, but it’s only about 15 minutes walk from the beach. Nevertheless, the garden has been an important part of Transition Bondi movement and activities for some years now and it continues to play a vital environmental role in the community although operating somewhat incognito.
I hold fond memories of joining some of its dig days over the years when we met together on a Sunday morning and gave a few hours of our time to weed, plant and harvest or participating in various gardening workshops sometimes with as many as 15 or 20 people.
The garden today is in a reasonable state but more works need to be done. As we all know with gardens if it is not cared for, it can easily fall into disarray and looks uninviting. So our dig days and volunteer recruitment are regular and ongoing.
A few years back a greenhouse was added to it and those few initial compost bins have increased in numbers. What we have discovered as the result of talking to some of the local residents is that many prefer to have a no-waste kitchen. The bins are now well utilized especially with a few Bondi businesses who have been disposing of their green waste not long after we started the process. For example, Thai Fire Fry and Tin Pin Organic Bakery have been longtime users of the bins. Recently the coffee roaster, Will & Co has offered to bring their coffee husks and dispose of them in the compost bins as mulch. As more and more people and businesses become aware of our composting facility in the garden we’ll need to find the space and add to the bins and commit more volunteers to look after them. We are also thinking of providing a free service to those interested residents looking for the best solution in implementing composting facility for themselves and neighbours. By taking the mystery out of composting usually, people prefer to compost rather than chuck their green straps in the council bins. The end result of composting (black gold) is the reward that can be used in the garden and pots to grow herbs, vegetables, and other plants or simply be spread around the base of the existing fruit trees and plants as a soil conditioner.
Creating a seed library has been another ongoing project for which the garden provides opportunities. Seed library and storage is a vital resource to be used by the community now and in the future. Some of the benefits of a seed library or seed bank are, access to free seeds, seeds that are more suitable to local climate and conditions and ultimately rendering more success in propagation.
Currently, the garden has a small but committed group of volunteers. We would like to install a water tank one day and rely more on rainwater. With Covid-19 restrictions lifted and hopefully no future outbreaks we would like to see the garden buzzing with various exciting garden activities and workshops. The best way to be initiated to our Secret Garden is to get in touch with us via our website and come to one of our dig days.