By Derek Schlennstedt
A dedicated group of Burrinja volunteers, The Hills Food Frontier (THFF) and garden enthusiasts led by Kate Schumann have developed a sensory garden full of colours, smells, textures and tastes which will open on 22 September.
The garden has been a year in the making and the artists were inspired in 2016 to create it.
Every week a special cohort of creatives meet at Burrinja for the Burrinja Arties art therapy group to look at what else they can add to the garden.
Kate Schumann, instigator of the garden is an avid local gardener whose green thumb glows with her ability to share her joy of gardening.
A long-time supporter of the Burrinja Arties Group, Kate had been researching the positive impacts of gardening on health and well-being, and noticed the sensory garden phenomenon in early 2016.
“Being in a garden gives me a great sense of peace and connection.
“I just couldn’t imagine not having the grounded feeling I get from being among plants.”
“The Arties is a lovely group which this year has been making art, for them-selves and for the garden, with the theme of Mother Earth.
“I love that through the garden they are getting that nourishing connection with nature and love that their artwork in the garden is finding connections with the wider Burrinja community,” Kate said.
With the support of numerous working bees, plant donations, care from volunteers as well as community grants from Yarra Ranges Council and Burrinja, the Arties’ sensory garden is now budding with the promise of a full summer bloom.
The sensory garden has become the central focus of the Arties’ creative development and has them making art from, with, and in the garden.
These creative contributions to the sensory experience are evolving with clay tiles, painted trellises and mobiles making up just some of the garden design.
As the seasons change, visitors to the sensory garden are invited to participate in different creative projects including a large circular weaving wheel, a ‘framed in the garden’ portrait project and a stone fairy house.
“For the Burrinja Arties participants, who live in challenging circumstances, the garden offers a sense of belonging and place at Burrinja,” Arties co-ordinator Lynette Forrest, Master of Creative Arts Therapy, said.
“As we harvest tomatoes, passionfruit and herbs, and pass them around the art table, the Arties are learning to taste, trust and experience variety and sensations through the seasons of the garden.”
Members of the public are invited to come to the launch of the garden on 22 September from 10am-12noon.