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Big Day Out for volunteers

A group of 30 Gardens’ volunteers – called ‘Garden Ambassadors’ – visited three of Melbourne’s best community gardens on their annual Big Day Out for volunteers at Cranbourne Gardens.

Organised each year by Volunteers Co-ordinator Mary Thackeray, the Big Day Out is a way that the Gardens thanks the Garden Ambassadors for their invaluable contribution to the Gardens throughout the year. It is also part of the Gardens Ambassadors’ ongoing development and a wonderful opportunity to learn from others in the horticultural field.

This time, the focus was on community gardens as the Garden Ambassadors prepare to open a Community Pop-up Garden in the Australian Garden this spring.

As Mary explains, it was an interesting and inspiring day as they were introduced to three very different gardens – the RAW Community Garden in East Brighton, the Port Phillip Eco Centre in the St Kilda Botanic Gardens, and Veg Out in St Kilda.

“RAW stands for Resilient Aspiring Women and as Mariam and Ina told us, the garden is where German precision meets African chaos!” explained Mary (in reference to where the two co-founders originally came from).

“Our second stop was the Port Phillip Eco Centre which is in a corner of the St Kilda Botanic Gardens. Here we had lunch and enjoyed a tour of the Eco House and their community garden with Paula and Will.”

“Our final stop was Veg Out, near Luna Park. This community garden is entirely run by volunteers and two of them - Hugh and John (aka Compost John) - kindly gave us an introduction and answered our questions.”

“All in all a great day and we picked up some really clever ideas for the Community Pop-up Garden,” said Mary.

The Community Pop-up Garden is a joint initiative of the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne and the Interactive Gardening Program clients from the City of Casey’s Home and Community Care program. Make sure you pop in this spring and don’t forget to say hello to the Garden Ambassadors in their red shirts!