Graham Ross enjoys chatting with one of the Cardinal Freeman residents
Graham Ross enjoys chatting with one of the Cardinal Freeman residents

Getting green

The $160 million redevelopment of The Residences, Cardinal Freeman in Ashfield is tracking on schedule, with over 80 new residents moved in last month.

Stockland has also already delivered a 100 seat indoor and outdoor café, which will open onto an expansive village green and a full restoration of the chapel and Glentworth House.

As part of the new community amenity the team is now planning the village green which will also include a new community garden.

To engage the residents with the community garden plans, the village welcomed Better Homes and Gardens Gardening expert, Graham Ross to the village to encourage some new green thumbs.

The residents were treated to a workshop filled with hints and tips to community gardening as well as a delicious afternoon tea. Graham's advice covered an array of topics for the eager gardeners from how to create compost to growing miniature tomatoes as well as the benefits of gardening as a form of exercise.

Cardinal Freeman Village Manager, Mark Maybury said: "The workshop was a great success with a large group of residents attending to learn more about growing their own veggies and of course to get a photo with Graham himself. It was actually one of our residents who originally proposed the idea to have a celebrity gardener provide some advice for the new community garden. Graham was a wealth of knowledge for us and the residents and we will continue to consult with him for his expertise during the planning process of the new community garden. We also look forward to welcoming him back next year when we officially open the Clubhouse."

Graham Ross said: "I have seen the plans for the new community gardens and it's going to be a very beautiful and pretty place once the development is complete, there are some great spaces for the residents to grow a wide variety of fruit, vegetables and flowers," He continues, "I love to see people get passionate about gardening. Gardening is a fantastic form of exercise for you as you age for complete wellbeing. At the end of the day we want the residents of Cardinal Freeman to be happy, healthy and engaged with nature and these new gardens will provide that."

Graham Ross Q&A

1. What are the benefits of gardening particularly as you age? Gardening provides complete wellbeing to people as they age with physical, mental and social benefits. Physically, gardening is a great form of exercise for seniors it is in fact one of the activities that the Heart Foundation recommends. The movement of getting up and down, as well as lifting, carrying or digging using helps pump the blood around the body and reduces sedentary behaviour. Mentally, gardening is fantastic for your brain it allows you to think about what needs to be done, engages you with the seasons and activates your senses particularly touch and smell. Socially, in an environment like Cardinal Freeman and in community gardens in particular gardening is a great social activity. It is a great way to make friends and chat about a mutual hobby.

2. What should we be planting in our gardens now? August and September are prime months for gardening your summer veg. I recommend planting the following in the next 4-6 weeks. • Tomatoes: with so many varieties now available in Australia, tomatoes are a great veg to grow in your garden. If you have limited sun go for the miniature varieties Also if you find it hard to digest tomatoes try the yellow varieties which have no acid. When planting tomato seeds spread lightly on the soil and water, do not use fertiliser and do not push them too far into the soil. • Beans: Another fantastic veg with so many variety types from fresh beans to snake beans. In smaller spaces try the dwarf varieties which are easier to grow, if you have the space and time to grow the larger varieties you will need a fence or trellis for the beans to grow up. • Herbs: This is perfect time to plant all your favourites herbs from basil to mint, a great addition to any garden • Greens: One of the easiest plants to grow are your leafy greens from lettuce to kale. A great money saver and they do not require too much sunlight so great for partially shaded back gardens. Also grow well on apartment balconies.

3. Is it possible to grow veggies on apartment balconies? Most definitely! All of the vegetables available today have veranda varieties. These miniature versions are perfect for an apartment balcony with less space required but all of the fun of gardening. If you have a balcony with minimal sunlight stick with the leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach and kale and all of the fantastic Asian varieties as well.

4. What are your top tips for beginner gardeners? • Start with something simple like tomatoes • If the plant doesn't grow, don't give up try something else • Use seaweed solution rather than fertiliser • If you buy seedlings make sure you plant them quickly. If the seedling flops over and is left for more than 30 mins before planted it will not succeed.


Meghan, Harry ‘struggling to cope’ in LA

Meghan, Harry ‘struggling to cope’ in LA

Dream of a blissful new life has quickly turned into a nightmare

Fresh confusion over virus 'detention'

Fresh confusion over virus 'detention'

Thousands of Melbourne public housing residents have been provided with "detention...

Man in iconic 9/11 photo dies from virus

Man in iconic 9/11 photo dies from virus

This man miraculously survived the 9/11 terror attacks