Thursday, September 30, 2010


Workshops for your calendar
With generous support from Newcastle City Council we are bringing you two more sustainable living workshops. A big thanks to Trish for continuing to bring us some great topics. To book in for either contact Trish on 0438 209 951.

Workshop: BEE KEEPING Saturday 16th October

• Have your own HONEY at home!
• Learn about : Pollination + Box Construction
Saturday 16th October, 9am – 11am
Presented by Ted Flowers
Cost: $15
Book Now – numbers limited.

Workshop: PICKLING + PRESERVING Saturday 13th November

• Make and take home JAM
• Learn about food preserving
Saturday 13th November, 10am – 1pm
Presented by Alice Lees
Cost: $20
Book Now – limit 8 people

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Playgroup Excursion

Figtree hosted a playgroup excursion today. What better way to inspire the next generation of green thumbs?

Bring together wheelbarrows, shovels, seedlings, enthusiasm and lots of small hands.

Planting some seedlings.

Saying hello to a helpful worm.

Followed by a picnic and more play. Perfect. Thanks to all of the mums and dads that came down and joined in some fun at the garden. As is often the case, it really is the more the merrier.

Come, and grow with others.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Upcoming Events: Herbs in the Burbs

'Herbs in the Burbs' is on Sunday 19th September from 10am - 3pm.
A National WEA initiative to promote public awareness of Complementary Health
It's a Complementary and Alternative Medicine open day at Fig Tree.
There will be stalls, food, entertainment, garden tours, a raffle and information about the relevent WEA Courses.
The stalls will include: Naturopathy Consultations, Iridology, Remedial Massage and Organic food and beverages.
Childrens activities provided.
For more information contact Sue Johnston, Email:

Flowers are out

There are bursts of colour down at the garden, perfect for a slow meander.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Workshops - See dates below

Hey Gardener,

There is a spurt of activity around the garden and if none of the activities listed below float your boat then you may just want to go to the garden, pick and roast some fresh eggplant and capsicum in olive oil and serve with some halumi cheese on a bed of rocket. mmmmm

Workshops at the Fig

Trish Young has pulled together some amazing workshops with the help of Community Assistance Funding from Newcastle Council. These are just the beginning of a workshop series that will generate some healthy, happy and skilled up locals. There is even one especially for the kids.

Bookings are essential and places are limited. To secure your place at any of the following phone Trish on 0438209951 or email on

1. Medicine for the Mind.

Guided Meditation Workshop.

Saturday May 29th


Cost: by Donation

Presenter: Ms Norma Taylor. Dip. Natural Healing, Dip. Medicinal Herbalism

An introduction to the techniques and benefits of guided meditation, using the garden as a focal point, including the properties of various herbs and their use as medicine for the mind.

2. Grow a lot in a small space.

Small container gardening suitable for all situations.

Sunday June 6th

10.30am – lunch

Cost: Workshop $5.00 + Lunch $10.00

Presenter: Gerry Bailey

Gerry presented a very successful workshop at Seniors Week this year. Gerry’s passion for gardening will enthuse all gardeners from the novice to the expert, to grow edible crops in small containers and enjoy the benefits of fresh home grown produce with a minimum of fuss.

Lunch will be wood fired pizzas of your choice, cooked onsite in the ‘gardens’ fabulous pizza oven.

3. Kids Workshop - Pizza from scratch and a homemade drink.

Saturday July 10th (school holidays).


Cost: $10.00 per child. Includes wood fired pizza lunch.

Presenter: Vicki Robertson

Learn how to make a pizza right from the start, toppings will include produce from the garden if available. Hands on workshop where the children will make and eat the pizzas, cooked in the gardens fabulous wood fired pizza oven.

Aimed at primary school aged children and their careers.

Also look out for Pickling and Preserving in August and Bee Keeping at your place In September.

Community Kitchen Second Friday of the Month (11 June 5pm on)

This is the best time of year to be standing in front of a wood fired pizza oven. Bring a few ingredients and a pizza base and tussle for the front row at the pizza oven.

Working Bee Sun 30 May 10am-lunch

We missed the last one thanks to Anzac Day, so we’ll have twice the socializing to do. We will be building a new garden bed near the containers. Hope you can make it. We’ll shout some pizza for lunch.

24/7 Fundraiser/ Open Day

On 24 July Fig Tree will host a fund raiser at the Croatian. We’re talking bands, pizza and other shenanigans that Fig tree often does… pumpkin lawn bowls. Lock it into your calendar. If you would like to volunteer some assistance with this event we won’t say no.

Accoustic Garden Session - Sunday arvo’s at the Croatian, 2pm-5pm

Trish Young, is a busy woman. She is also helping to organize and promote Sunday afternoon gigs in the garden with the BBQ, some live music and the perfect beer garden.

Fig tree is now registered with Centerlink

So that those who are required to put some volunteer hours in can do so in the garden. Pass the message on if you know someone who needs some fun volunteer work.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fig Tree Stuff

Hi Gardener,

Autumn is an awesome season – it’s up there with spring.  People reemerge from their conditioned hibernation, evaporation slows, and rain increases.  This means good things for Fig Tree.  It means food grows and people pull couch out….maybe.  If you are going to pull couch out it is best to use a pitch fork and loosen the roots deep underground before working the grass out with careful but firm persuasion.  If I sound slightly obsessed with this weed it’s because I am (it’s personal).
Moving on, heaps of cappo’s, eggplants, basil, some tomatoes, beautiful lettuce and the odd rock melon or pumpkins are there for the picking.  If couch doesn’t interest you, you might like to plant some seeds in the hot house, spread some compost, or splash some water around.

Seniors Week Event Fri 26 March 10am-1pm

This Friday will be a great day for the seasoned gardener.  It is a Senior’s week activity and there will be lots of seniors.  There will also be wood fired pizza, kindly funded by Council.  If you are a senior or you will one day be a senior you are welcome to attend.  If you fall in the latter category, you will have to go to the end of the line when waiting for your pizza.  There will be some hands on activities that may be of interest if pizza doesn’t float your boat.

Working Bee Sun 28 March 10am-lunch

The Committee is focused.  We have been planning and strategizing about how to take Fig Tree into the next decade and it all starts at this working bee.  Apart from slaying couch, planting passion fruit and planting trees, we will be weeding a bocce court so that we can prepare to grow more herbs to increase our local trade with restaurants like Three Bean in Hamilton and Barios in Mayfield.  Followed by – you guessed it – wood fired pizza.
Community Kitchen Fri 9 April
BYO food and cook with wood.  Our Committee meeting precedes the cook up so if you want to join in or just see how a highly focused band of garden organizers functions you can sit in.

Speaking of organized, the Fig tree Committee recently had a strategy meeting facilitated by that charismatic Irishman Rhyall Gordon who took time in lei .from his real job to get us thinking about what Fig Tree needs to do.  He did extraordinarily well at harnessing the brain power of 9 people to help to take Fig tree into the future.   Rhyall you are tops. 

Everyone who gave up their day to lend their brains to the process are also tops – that’s Jenny Cameron, Bill Robo, Alex (Greek man), Victoria Phillis, Trish Young, Kristy Grainger, Jo Plummer and Shaun Hobson.  I’m comforted with these people at the Fig Tree helm.   You will see and hear about the outcomes in the coming months.  If you have ideas for the site that need to be heard then don’t be shy, Fig Tree is where ideas are born every day.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

All Happening at the Fig

Hi Gardener,
It’s back to business at Fig Tree.  The January working bee was cooled by the rainy weather and around 20 people pounced on the couch.  Some follow up through the week by super weeder Shaun Hobson (pat that man on the back when you see him) and we unveiled some veges.  Get down there and pick some boc choy, silver beet, basil, capsicums, egg plant, zucchini, squash, enough chilies to start a fire and cucumbers to put the fire out.  There is plenty of planting to do, some compost to spread and I think Shaun left a few weeds to pull.  If you do plant, follow up with regular water, because you might be the only one who knows where you put it.  If you want company on site there are always people floating around on Thursdays and Fridays.
Community Kitchen plus Farewell for Euri, Tom and Guillermo Fri 12 Feb from 5pm
Tom, Euri and Guillermo and part of the furniture at Fig Tree and if you have been to a working bee or community kitchen in the last 5 years, chances are you know them.  They constantly deliver loads of joy, wisdom and plants to Fig Tree (not to mention their remarkable talent with that pizza oven). 
This will be Euri, Tom and Guillermo's last Friday at the Garden for a while, as they leave for 10 months in Venezuela the following week. Please come and share one of Tom's bocconcini and anchovy pizza specials, or maybe even one of Euri's Cuban style pork roasts. Tom says “They will miss friends and the figtree, and hope to come back with some good ideas on community organising and action from Venezuela, as well as sharing the Fig Tree experience with friends there”.
BYO something to bake or a few pizza toppings.
Thanks to Warners Bay Community Garden
Warners Bay Community Garden is an unstoppable force developing in Lake Macquarie.  They are in the process of acquiring land as they have already acquired a big list of members, a stack of materials, a solid committee, a website and even money for resources.  If you live on the northern end of the lake you might like to keep an eye on or even join this group.  Steve Taylor, an active member of Fig Tree is a key driver for the group.  He is building some strong connections between the two gardens.  Check out 
The group also recently dropped off a few seedlings to Fig Tree that were left over from their fund raising activities and for this we owe then a big THANKYOU.
Working Bee Sun 28 Feb
If you are yet to engage with many people at Fig Tree, the working bee is the place to do it.  And we put on a pizza lunch in return for your efforts.  Hope to see you there.
Seniors Week Event Friday 26 March 10am-1pm
Once again Newcastle Council are helping to put this on for the seasoned gardeners.  A morning of knowledge sharing in the garden and surrounds will be followed with some wood fired treats.  It’s a free event to celebrate the wisdom of the elders.  If you are a seasoned gardener, then come along and invite your friends and family.  For catering purposes let us know with a return email if you are attending.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Tales from Fig Tree

Happy New Year Gardener,

What can you say about 2009 at the Fig.  There are so many layers, so many people and so many stories that it is hard to offer a summary of a year in a few words.  There are exciting statistics on groups that visited, food produced, waste composted, hits on the website and events held.  Amazing tales of support from individuals who turned up at the right time and place (too many of these to mention).  But when I reflect on the year I think of stories. 

There were moments in the garden when I felt really privileged to be there.  Like the time a young Philippino woman walked through the garden with me, pointing out common plants and telling me how her mother treated various ailments with them when she was a child.  She said that she never went to a doctor growing up the Philippines.  Or like the time a group of hearing impaired kids got stuck into the sound garden.  I’d never seen anyone bash that percussion with such enthusiasm.  There were pets buried, trees planted for people passing, kids born (not in the garden) and birthdays celebrated (in the garden).  There is a lot of meaning in a community garden.  I suppose I state the obvious by saying it is a place where you grow a community. 

Community Kitchen Friday 15 Jan 5pm
Following on from a committee meeting there is an impromptu community kitchen in lei of the one we didn’t have last week.  This is an easy quiet cook up with the pizza oven, BYO food and grab a beverage from the bar.   Can you think of a better way to ease out of the festive season?  For future reference they are always on the second Friday of the month.

Working Bee Sunday 31 Jan 10am-lunch
There is some work to do folks.  The garden is very forgiving but it has been ravaged by dry, heat, weeds and neglect (can’t blame people for not wanting to weed in this heat).  Not too much to recover – it’s probably better than this time last year.  Lunch is provided.

Coming Up
Seniors Week Open day – late March
Cheese making workshop
Bee Keeping workshop
Food Preserving workshop
(dates tba)

I’m sure the year ahead will offer some great stories.  If you have dared to take only a few tentative steps through the garden without becoming too involved, I recommend you cut loose this year, light the pizza oven with a few friends, pick an entire feed from the garden (even if it is chips and eggs), meet a bocce player, make a bean trellis/ sculpture, create a story...