Volunteers continue to contribute their time and talents to meet what could be termed “a growing need” at Gin Gin Landcare, Bush Food Garden and Nursery.
While the nursery is not currently open to the public, president Ray Johnson says the care and maintenance of plants and the nursery gardens remains an ongoing commitment for volunteers.
Located at Tirroan just a short drive from Gin Gin, the nursery is a plant wonderland and reflects Ray’s passion and dedication to the principles of Landcare, environmental sustainability and the propagation of native species.
For those who have never visited the nursery, a rare treat awaits should they take the opportunity.
Ray loves nothing more than to walk among his plants, beaming as he explains the subtle differences between the four varieties of macadamia, the delightful scent of the Lemon Myrtle or what fruits comprise bush tucker.
He wears his secateurs like an old cowboy may have worn his six-gun.
And, he’s mighty quick on the draw, showing amazing dexterity as he prunes unwanted foliage or snips a wild plum for tasting.
The development of the nursery has been an ongoing project for around 20 years.
“Once we had to rely on grants and financial handouts to support our work,” he says.
Waving his arm across the expanse of plants and seedlings in pots and tubes he says the nursery is now capable of self-sufficiency.
“Of course, if we had to pay our volunteers that would be a different matter.
“We have a great group – but always need more hands – to assist with the potting, watering, weeding, grafting and general care of the nursery.”
He pointed to a number of potted plants which he said were bound for North Burnett Regional Council and Biggenden State School.
“We also partner with local Councils in bush regeneration project, as well as providing information sessions for local schools and organisations.”
Rainforest pathway an oasis
While the nursery has boasted a Community Bush Food Garden for some time, a Rainforest Pathway has been developed over the past couple of years.
Canopy trees have been established and now an amazing array of under storey plants including ferns, native gingers and wild orchids are establishing and developing a vibrant green lushness.
A small solar powered “waterfall” provides an almost musical interlude with its incessant ‘tinkling’.
The generosity of sponsors like Bendigo Bank and an adjacent farmer have added to the quality of the nursery.
Thanks to Bendigo Bank, a new office complete with an open covered concrete area has provided a place for meetings and to store the group's paperwork.
“A farmer friend assists us with up to two megalitres of water which is vital to the nursery and a very economical means of us sourcing water. Other Landcare groups can pay thousands in water charges,” he said.
Volunteer Colleen Clarke enjoys the opportunity to contribute to an organisation like Landcare.
A relative newcomer, she says Ray has an amazing bank of knowledge when it comes to plants.
“I like to assist with the grafting because I am learning all the time. I also like to help in preparing the more mature plants for sale.”
Colleen lives near Childers and makes the trip to the nursery on a regular basis.
While the nursery, primarily because of its volunteer staff, is closed, Ray would welcome enquiries from anyone interested in volunteering or wanting more information in relation to the sale of plants.
Gin Gin Landcare and Bush Food Garden can be found on Facebook or contacted on 0419 199 168.
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