Indigenous interpretive garden
2015 || For this 300 m2 garden, Karen was invited to collaborate with Goulburn Valley Catchment Management Authority (GBCMA), the Taungerung clan and the Seymour P12 community to design, project manage and work with indigenous students at the school to install the garden. In an unloved area, the garden also had to resolve seasonal flooding issues, by slowing storm-water entering the site by use of careful plant choice and design.
The school community was heavily involved in building and planting the garden, with one of the parents responsible for much of the earthworks and building the bridge, central to the garden’s feel. Local rocks were used, and the local council supplied mulch. Students worked with Edible Eden and GBCMA staff to plant the garden, giving a greater sense of ownership, and pride in these plants chosen for their cultural significance.
To showcase the plants from this area and their uses by indigenous people, the garden is planted only with local plants. Plants were chosen for their significance to the Taungerung people, but also for their ability to thrive in a harsh school situation. The plants were sourced from local indigenous nurseries, and have not only grown but thrived, showing the value of using indigenous plants in school gardens.
Arthropodium strictum, or chocolate lilies, are indigenous to this region, and their underground yams have been nurtured and harvested for thousands of years, and eaten raw, or roasted in fires first. Plants need rich well-drained soils to produce well and should be left for 2-3 years before harvesting. The flowers of chocolate lilies also bring a delicious chocolate aroma to the garden in spring.
Bunjil and Waa
Bunjil is the eagle and Waa the Australian raven or crow, both significant for the Taungerung clans from this area. An uninteresting sports stadium wall made a convenient background for Bunjil and Waa to be part of this garden, and were made by Dow Engineering from nearby Dookie.