SHIRE gardeners have been planting an increasing number of vegetables alongside the flowers in council garden beds in Foster and Toora.
“I like the idea of growing something we can use,” said Parks and Gardens Maintenance Supervisor Anthony Howard.
“It also perhaps inspires home gardeners, showing them what they can grow in a particular season.”
As well as greens in the flower beds, he has recently planted potatoes and fruit and nut trees in beds at Pearl Park and near the highway entrance to Foster.
Of the firm belief that the gardens have value as a community resource as well as a visual attraction, Anthony generously shares some of the produce with Foster Primary School for use in its cooking program. The school’s garden specialist Juneen Schulz and kitchen specialist Kim Albert occasionally harvest some of the greens from the beds at Pearl Park and the roundabout to supplement produce from the school’s garden. Last week they were delighted to find a good supply of collards (hardy annual greens from the brassica family which includes broccoli and cabbage) which they picked to use in a soup Kim made with the children.
“We’ll combine them with real chicken stock and white beans we harvested from the school garden, saved and dried,” said Kim, who also found a few turnips and some bok choy she thought she could make use of.
Anthony said members of the community are welcome to pick the occasional herb or vegetable if they require them, but he asked that most of the produce be left to bloom so that everyone can enjoy the gardens for their beauty.