‘Grandfamily’ team up for gardening challenge
DARWIN gardener Dimity Foster's joy of spending precious time in her garden with her grandchild Ella has led to entering Ella in Australia's Next Top Gardener.
The green thumb skills that Dimity is sharing with six-year-old Ella have been passed down the generations. Dimity's mother was a passionate gardener and her daughters have picked up the passion as well. Now Dimity is spending time helping her granddaughter discover that passion.
"Ella is a big help in the garden," Dimity said. "She just loves it. Ella helps me weed and plant different things."
Dimity's small backyard garden has small trees, hibiscus, and lots of vegetables including yummy spaghetti squash, beans, eggplants and chocolate capsicum.
One of Ella's favourite plants is the rosella. "She is always saying, 'make more rosella jam,'' Dimity said with a smile in her voice.
The time spent in the garden for Dimity is very special to her. "I really enjoy gardening," Dimity said. "I find it very good for mental health and relaxation." It's also something she can do with her grandchild.
Originally it was planned for Dimity use gardening as a way to spend quality time with Ella, but Ella took quickly to the garden.
Each week Dimity teaches Ella a little bit more about how to grow the plants, look after the soil and manage the good and bad insects that come into the garden. She is also talking to Ella about how to cook each of the vegetables that are grown in her garden.
"She can see the rewards of what you are planting and what you are looking after and then get to eat the vegetables or enjoy the flowers with the birdlife around," Dimity said.
"One day I said to her, 'Ella, if you keep up your dancing, you could be on stage'. She looked at me and said 'Oh no, grandma, I want to be just like you when I work. I want to grow lots and lots of vegetables'."
Dimity thinks the skills her granddaughter is learning now and the passion she is developing for gardening, will stay with Ella throughout her life.
Winning the national competition for children under 15 will mean that Dimity will be able to take Ella to the Melbourne International Flower Show.
Entries for the Yates sponsored competition close on October 15. For more information, go to www.yates.com.au