4th Thursday of the Month
Elanora Community Centre
26 Galleon Way, Elanora, Gold Coast
4th Thursday of the Month
There are so many benefits which I experience that it’s hard to know where to start really.I guess firstly, having a community of like minded people, who care about the natural state of the environment and about each other,is a real blessing. It’s so heart-warming to share gardening stories, problems, recipes,food, produce, ideas, joys and simple help!I’m continually surprised that it’s all so satisfying and rewarding.
I really look forward to the monthly meetings, and work hard to prepare for them, as do many others, I know, gathering up the plants, seeds and produce, etc that I’m taking. There are seedlings to sell, excess to share, raffle table for give-aways and seeds to prepare. I love the buzz that greets me as I enter the room, with everyone purring around setting up for the event, greeting each other happily,looking for what’s new. Even though I’ve just had dinner, seeing the supper table makes me hungry already!
Then there’s the garden itself – so much learning, so many issues and rewards! Having the GCOG meetings helps to reassure me that I’m not alone with never-ending problems,and I’ve often found answers listening to Maria field questions from us all. Actually being in the garden working is health-giving on all levels, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Also, there’s something deeply,quietly satisfying knowing that I’m part of what’s going on across the planet, working with the soil, with nature, organically, doing my bit to contribute to the health of all concerned.
A lot of what I help to grow in our garden isn’t great, a rat has got to it first and half eaten it…but the half he left me trims up to be pretty good actually! At least the carrots actually look and taste like carrots now, not tasteless,misshapen aberrations. The silverbeet is going brown through the stems and seeping up into the leaves again…., but at least we’ve had several months of abundant, rich leaves which taste amazing! And the soil no longer feels like heavy clods: it’s pretty loamy and a nice dark colour. Our compost has gradually transformed it over time; it truly is the wonder element.
In short, I don’t think I could be happy without a garden, and the GCOG club is the “icing on the cake” of the gardening for me.
Whilst I have learnt something “technical” from most of the Club meetings that I’ve attended – whether it be from our guest speakers, or from the presentations our Club members have done, or from our Q&A sessions (most helpful because they are local) – I think the greatest benefit to me has been to see the generosity of our Club members.
This trait is evident every third Thursday evening of the month – people welcome each other; they are friendly; they contribute items to the raffle table; they swap goodies on the Swap table; they bring supper on a regular and generous basis; and they give talks. Many of the members give each other cuttings or seedlings, spend time helping each other with gardening, willingly give hints on how to solve gardening problems, and generally offer friendship.
My theory about this is that because we work with the natural world – soil, rain, sunshine and the growing of plants, all of which are freely and abundantly obtained – then this generosity becomes part of our everyday lives.
Thank you, GCOG!
I re-joined the GCOG in 2010 after an absence of many, many years. (Rearing & home-schooling 5 children had become too distracting during those intervening years. However, by 2010 they had all run away from home ).
I have thoroughly enjoyed and benefited from being back in 'The Club' for the following reasons:
☆ the many friendships formed
☆ the gardening information gained from guest speakers, from other members, and especially from Maria's deep pool of knowledge
☆ and the raffle table. Aah, the raffle table!
I've acquired many a gem from that raffle table. The GCOG is a unique little club that has contributed much to my life. Thanks everyone, but especially to Maria & Paul.
When my Dad’s friend, Murray, brought me along to my first GCOG meeting 5 (??) years ago, I wasn’t sure, mostly because I am actually quite shy. I had recently returned from working in Mexico and despite not having had a garden since I was in school, I’d gotten the opposite of itchy-feet and ordered my first lot of seeds before I had even left Mexico City. I came home and quickly planted out the 5 little garden beds my Dad had built for me when I was 12. They weren’t enough, so by the time Murray brought me along I had dug up at least 10 m2 of my (very forgiving) parents’ lawn as well.
But, of course, starting out, most of my decisions in the garden were based on some sort of inherent logic, and extensive reading. And while I loved the books, techniques and ideas developed in temperate climates and European soils, while inspiring, tended to be more of a hinderance than a help in our climate and region. And the straight-line, weedfree garden I imagined never really took shape, even in those early days of time and enthusiasm without the counterweight of practicality that I have now. Mum had grown veggies when I was a kid, and so had my grandpa, but I don’t feel like I learned too much. I could plant a seed and knew how things grew, but I didn’t have that knowledge that comes from actually practicing something with experts, and I am still sad I didn’t get to learn more from my grandpa.
But GCOG is kind of like what I might had learned from grandpa – real advice, from real experts, who actually garden. Books are all well and good – actually, I got 4 great ones from the library last meeting after Evelyn spurred me into action, if anyone wants a recommendation – but gardening is the sort of knowledge that is meant to be handed down in the one place. No one has gardened on my land – it used to be a cow paddock – but at least at GCOG there are people who garden on their own cow paddocks in the area. And their ideas and advice, as much as I love books, are worth all the more because they experience the same climate, plant types, soils and weather as I do.
I got involved with organising guest speakers for GCOG less than a year after Murray introduced me to the club. Not only did I learn heaps through that, being involved in the committee definitely made me feel at home much more quickly than I would have otherwise. And for all that the information and advice has been fantastic, finding a group of people who like gardening and growing as much as I do has been by far the best thing about it. I love being able to talk plants and veggies, to visit gardens, to steal cuttings and trade plants, to be inspired by other people’s beautiful gardens, or flowers, or kombucha. It makes me a better gardener, it inspires, and it makes me feel like even though I am usually all alone in my big garden (except for worms, and the butcher bird that follows me around, and a million overwhelming weeds), I am also part of a community of gardens and gardeners. And that, for me, is important.