Joinery hero Kirsty recently spoke with keen gardeners Michael and Kenneth about life in the CBD and their work in our Common Ground Community Garden.
The happy husbands live close to the Joinery at Spence on Light, an inner-city development located on Light Square dedicated to the creation of quality, affordable housing in the CBD.
Both Michael and Kenneth grew up gardening, their interest starting as children working alongside family members in the gardens of their youth. They had a successful garden when they lived in the suburbs years ago – award-winning, in fact! – with over 600 people coming through as part of the Open Garden Scheme.
Since moving to the city, the pair have either created their own green spaces or tended to a public space to help bring it to life. Their experiences range from setting up small balcony gardens to roof top gardens to helping in a community garden in the parklands, and managing the verge gardens on Whitmore Square.
Their home Spence on Light features 75 apartments owned by Housing Choices SA, the South Australian Housing Authority and ACH Group.
The apartments offer social, affordable, and accessible accommodation to older people as they age, and for people living with a significant disability, many of whom were living in housing stress or at risk of homelessness. The location of the development means residents can use the Joinery/Common Ground Garden as their inner-city backyard.
Michael and Kenneth knew of the Common Ground Community Garden – Michael first coming across it in his NRM days whilst doing a tour of community gardens – but could see it required a great deal of work in the early days.
After hearing more about Common Ground from Mark Kruszynski (Housing Choices SA/Common Ground Community Garden Coordinator) and realising there was a lack of hands to get any significant work done, they started coming along and helping on Fridays with other volunteers, chipping away at odd jobs and tackling little bits at a time.
In the spirit of the Joinery, they used resources that were already there, like beautiful pots hidden under overgrown foliage.
'There was good stuff, just in the wrong place,' they said. 'Moving certain elements and adding diversity brought new life to the garden.'
When asked what they would like to see for the future of the garden, the pair lean toward increasing aesthetic appeal and including more diversity in the greenery. They spoke about using art to beautify the space; to engage, communicate and make the space more visually appealing. There was mention of improving the compost bay, perhaps with the addition of a mulcher, as well as including some new furniture and creating shade to make the space more comfortable.
Kirsty expressed her thanks for the couple's time and efforts in revitalising the space. Kenneth and Michael responded that it has truly been a pleasure; it brings them joy to see their work bringing joy to others.
The green-thumbed pair have a dream of opening the Joinery for the Open Garden Scheme in 2023, so watch this space as a greater diversity of foliage, colour, and flowers emerge in our favourite CBD garden into the new year.
So head on down to enjoy the fruits of our Common Ground volunteers' labours during regular opening hours, and keep an eye on our event calendar to see the garden come alive with music, food, drinks and entertainment!