By: Michael Fox
Visiting Abbeville Community Garden and meeting that community was a real pleasure, not to mention the amazing chilli chutney and cheese on offer.
Barbara tells me the event was organised to celebrate receiving grant from Brisbane City Council which will enable building the remaining eight garden beds and filling them with soil.
The garden community is an inspiring group ranging from young kids who love the raised beds where they can plant their seeds, young parents and retired people. The people I met certainly reflected the group’s mission on their Facebook:
OUR MISSION: To provide community driven food gardens, where children and community members of all ages can come together to learn, play, share and grow food – FOR LIFE !
This special group is looking for new members to bring the new garden beds to life.
Abbeville Community Garden group offers two membership options:
- Communal Beds – $15 per year
- shared use gardens
- Rental Gardens – $15 per quarter
- sole use – produce from beds will more than cover rental cost
Membership fees cover the cost of public liability insurance.
My purpose in visiting the garden was to engage the community members in becoming part of a new Pollinator Link between Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve and Bulimba Creek beside Mansfield State High School. Mt Gravatt Men’s Shed in the Showgrounds will be our first link in the wildlife corridor.
I prepared a flyer to show how Abbeville Community Garden can work with BCC parks, schools and backyards to create the wildlife corridor.
Pollinator Link gardens provide vital resources for transiting wildlife:
- Food – nectar rich flowers, fruits, seeds and insects, spiders, lizards
- Breeding – nest-boxes, bee blocks
- Water – bird bath, frog pond, local creek
When I talk to people about their Pollinator Link garden I highlight the importance of attracting insects for insect eating birds. This is often counter intuitive – “I try to keep insects out of my vegetable garden!” However, Abbeville Community Garden is alive with valuable insects like the attractive yellow Fungus-eating Ladybird Beetle Illeis galbula which specialises in eating fungus and black mold on leaves of vegetables. (Reference: Brisbane Insects and Spiders)
I also saw native pollinators including Blue Banded Amegilla cingulata and Teddy Bear Amegilla bombiformis bees. Both solitary bees these pollinators are very particularly valuable for vegetable gardens because they perform “buzz pollination” which is vital for plants like tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers which require the flowers to be vibrated to shake out the pollen. Blue Banded and Teddy Bear bees are able to disengage their wings then use their wing muscles to shake the flowers. European Honey Bees Apis mellifera cannot do buzz pollination.
And butterflies! New Garden member Susan emailed this photo of the beautiful Blue Triangle butterfly Graphium sarpedon. Forty-nine different butterflies species have been identified in Mt Gravatt Conservation Reserve. The aim of Pollinator Links is to invite these beautiful creatures back to our backyards and allow them to move between island bushland habitats with our city.