The garden is clearly more than a one-person job. When Wendy slid down the side of a cliff, cutting herself on broken glass and thorns, she hired her first strong helper, Corrado Camuglia, a cheerful, pragmatic Sicilian pizza chef, who happened to be walking by. Corrado was in for the long haul, and is still working in Wendy’s Garden.
Wendy then hired Ruben Gardiol, a kind-hearted, multi-skilled house painter from Uruguay, who became a natural gardener, working until 2020. Ruben and Corrado have been joined over the years by many other helpers, friends, students and part timers creating a joyous guerrilla garden.
There are many ways in which the public participates in the Garden’s life. There are the local volunteer gardeners who gather in the garden on the first Saturday of each month to lend a hand with spreading mulch, weeding and generally helping to care for the garden. The volunteer gardeners are coordinated by Lavender Bay Precinct (firstname.lastname@example.org) and it is a unique opportunity for local residents and newcomers to enjoy the camaraderie of a diverse group bound together by their love of the garden.
Local residents have set up and maintained this website, which provides the Garden’s principal online opening to the world. The website receives many local and overseas enquiries, including requests for publicity photos for various media, from newspapers to books and motion pictures. Wendy encourages this and commissioned a set of images to provide interested parties.
Volunteers also donate their time to give guided tours of the garden to groups of visitors, including international tourists (the tour company pays a per passenger contribution to the Garden Trust), Corporate team building events and local community-based organisations. Volunteers also include contributors from the corporate world. As companies realise the importance of their ESG (Environment, Sustainability, Governance) obligations, an outlet for these can be found by helping in the garden. Often participants are new to gardening and these occasions impart a new experience which groups are keen to repeat.
We’ve also provided the opportunity for members of society living with disability, sometimes accompanied by their carers, to participate in the garden life, giving them an outlet and helping with their sense of self-worth.
There are so many ways in which the community engages with the garden, whether that be the immediate neighbours or visitors from afar. In return, the garden helps create and enrich the community.