The Secret Garden in the Western Sydney University Richmond Campus is a real treasure.
As well as a garden and a nursery, there is also a café and farmyard corner, donkeys, goats as well as a gift shop. It is run by North West Disability Services as a community hub which provides space for groups, organisations and individuals to meet and flourish. Last month, Farm it Forward launched its program at the Secret Garden and was well supported with a great team of prospective farmers learning the techniques of market gardening.
Farm it Forward introduces and up skills interested future farmers and connects them with local residents who have small plots of land available to establish a productive market garden.
Last month also saw The Secret Garden benefit from a face-lift thanks to the Ruff Track team. Richmond High School students joined Ruff Track participants and together they repaved The Secret Garden’s “One Mile Kitchen Cafe”. The café offers a healthy hot lunch menu each day Monday to Saturday with the cafe open from 10am to 2pm.
Dianna Kearney runs the nursery side of things: “Over the past few months with Covid-19 restrictions in place, many people have been spending more time in their gardens and reconnecting with Mother Nature in ways they may not have previously experienced.
“Research shows that gardening can help to reduce stress, depression, anxiety, anger issues and obesity problems as well as increase your life expectancy. Not to mention the increase in happiness and wellbeing, especially if you are able to grow your own healthy, fresh and nutrient-packed fruit and vegetables,” she said.
“The Secret Garden Nursery sells an enormous range of excellent quality from drought-tolerant succulents and natives to vegetable seedlings and cottage garden ‘pretties’. Visitors are welcome to browse through the selection of herbs, shade lovers, trees, exotics, water-wise plants, hedging, ornamental grasses and old favourites such as lavender, hydrangea and daisies.
“Many of the plants on offer at the Secret Garden Nursery are unusual and some quite rare, The majority of our plants are propagated and nurtured on-site by our staff, wonderful volunteers and disability program participants. This means that our plants are ideally suited to our climate here in the Hawkesbury.
“All profits from the sale of the plants go directly back into providing our services to the community, including our daily programs for people with disabilities.
“The Secret Garden doesn’t receive any government funding, so we rely upon our sales to survive. When you select plants from our nursery, you’re not only getting great quality plants at competitive prices, you are also supporting our not-for-profit mission to care for people in our community.”
The Secret Garden is located on Clydesdale Lane, on the campus of the Western Sydney University, Richmond. Enter via Londonderry Road. It is open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 3pm. For more information about the Secret Garden Nursery and Community Hub, call 0414 784 460.