The sun glistening off the lily pond, the whistling of the kettle, the taste of homemade strawberry jam and a cheeky honey eater playing in the water of an upturned shed gutter.
Joe’s Connected Garden is truly a magical and welcoming food forest with hidden treats found around each corner and under every leaf. From five connected neighbourhood gardens more than a decade ago to now 14 across multiple suburbs, this community network of gardening enthusiasts all have one thing in common.
“We all have different backgrounds, different cultures, different beliefs – when we get together we have one interest which is ‘let’s put the coffee on’, ‘let’s see what you are doing in the garden’, let’s pick something’, ‘want a hand with something’ – it’s like that,” Joe said.
Joe Kielnerowski has lived at his Elizabeth Grove home for 25 years and since the day he moved in the sense of community was strong. The connected gardens concept was developed when his neighbour, Rosanne Parker, watered his trees through a hole in the back fence.
“It was suggested that we put gates in so people did not have to climb through holes in fences and that’s how it started,” he said. “We learnt that community is not necessarily in your face. “Sometimes I don’t see my neighbours for six months, but you just continue on the conversation the next time you do because they might be picking fruit in your garden. It’s almost like a neighbourhood watch on steroids.”
All of the connected gardens bring something different to the kitchen table. Collectively there are more than 750 different varieties of fruit alone across the five gardens open to the public.
The connected garden network is all about sharing their knowledge and encouraging others to establish their own nursery of delicious foods.
“People give up gardening because they can’t get things to grow and we show them how they can do things successfully based on our experience,” he said. “We grow to give away. “We don’t have much left over, people use it, and we have school groups that visit. “It gets given away or shared or eaten on the spot – and the black birds also take a peck out of everything.”
Joe’s Connected Garden hosts seasonal workshops that are open for community to attend. The Connected Garden will host its tenth Open Garden on 5 and 6 of March 2022. For further information visit the Joe’s Connected Garden Facebook page.