Tucked away in a quiet corner of the Musselburgh School grounds is a lush garden paradise, bursting with scent and colour.
The site is the Musselburgh "Heart & Soil" Community Garden, a joint project between the school and the local community, where volunteers spend happy hours working in the beds, taking home fresh produce as their reward.
Leading the Musselburgh Heart & Soil Community Garden project is local woman and experienced gardener Sue Novell, who enjoys working with the soil and sharing her knowledge with other gardeners and the school children.
Musselburgh School principal Rob Taylor is thrilled with the "magnificent" garden space, both as a community effort and as a pleasant and educational space for the school’s pupils.
"Sue and her team have done an amazing job of transforming it into this place of bounty — it is great to have it on our grounds and it works beautifully for the children," Mr Taylor said.
The Musselburgh Community Garden was founded in 2006 by the then Dunedin Multi-Ethnic Council (now Dunedin Multicultural Council) in 2006, as a way for new migrants to come together, socialise and learn about gardening in New Zealand.
Early this year, current DMCC president Lux Selvanesan made contact with South Dunedin Community Network to ask about reinvigorating the space.
The call went out for interest, and was answered by Ms Novell and Enviroschools facilitator Jennie Upton, who brought in community-led development project Dream South D, and set about inviting members of the school community and local volunteers into the project.
After it was decided the space would be a combined community and school garden, pupils dug out the beds, and the work began on replacing the soil, creating fencing and installing a garden shed donated by Mitre 10.
A regular programme of gardening sessions were established for every first and third Saturday of the month, and the garden began to take shape, quickly growing into a beautiful and productive space.
Enviroschools comes in to work with the children on Monday lunchtimes, and Ms Novell comes in on Wednesdays to work in the garden with the pupils.
"The children love experiencing the garden, especially as they can wander around and taste things straight off the plant," Ms Novell said.
Local community volunteer Helen Mitchell got involved in the garden as she had recently retired and was looking for something do. She is loving the experience.
"It’s a lovely place to come to, and I am learning a lot about how to grow a garden," she said
Musselburgh School parent and garden volunteer Bianca Tanner also enjoyed the experience of being part of the garden, and felt it was "a real positive for the children".
Planning is also under way to hopefully expand the garden and plant a food forest and sensory space, and also to launch a "garden to table" programme.
- Community sessions are held at the Musselburgh Heart & Soil Community Garden on the first and third Saturday of the month, from 10am-noon.
For more information about the garden and getting involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org