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Students unveil achievable garden to delight the senses

Landscape design and horticulture students at Bendigo TAFE have unveiled a one-of-a-kind achievable garden at Charleston Rd campus, now on show until 10 December.

Featuring recycled materials and native vegetation sourced within a 50km radius of the site, the 20-square-metre garden is designed to inspire achievable gardening amongst our local community.

Titled ‘Fill Up Your Senses’, the project was managed by landscape design student Kendall Ingram after her design was handpicked by a panel of local industry representatives following a student competition. Thirteen students contributed to bringing the design to life.

Ms Ingram said the garden, which included local Indigenous plants, edible foods, a circular meditation deck and a pond, is one that can be recreated in most backyards.

“I was inspired by the bush walks my parents took me on when I was a kid and which I continued to do as an adult. This garden was about capturing a tiny moment in a bushland setting and recreating it as a garden,” said Ms Ingram.

“This bush style garden is something you may be able to build in your backyard with basic skills in gardening and construction. “It’s a space where one can enjoy the sound of tricking water as you meditate and the smells of fragrant native plants, many of which are also edible.

“It’s also a very sustainable and eco-friendly space with plants specifically chosen to suit the environment and minimise need for excessive watering. These plants are also local wildlife attracting to further support our eco-system.” Ms Ingram said it was really satisfying to see her design come to life.

“It was a challenge to keep the project going during the lockdown. Not being able to be on site made it difficult to organise materials and we’ve had to put a hold on many aspects of the work,” she said. “But we continued chipping away behind the scenes, for instance, I potted up the plants and built the circular deck myself using leftover and recycled materials.

“The project has finally come into fruition and it brings me huge joy to see all the hard work pay off, despite the setbacks”.

Project mentors included Bendigo TAFE’s food and fibre lead educator Kellie Jones, a previous Achievable Garden design winner, and horticulture teacher Stan Smith, with support from the TAFE’s facilities and construction teams, as well as local nurseries and garden suppliers.

Mr Smith said the project centered around the annual Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show’s Avenue of Achievable Gardens initiative, which was cancelled in 2021 due to the pandemic.

“It was important for our students to continue gaining hands-on experience through this meaningful achievable garden project, despite the lockdowns in Victorian and despite the cancellation of the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show,” said Mr Smith.

“The project is part of our curriculum and it challenges our students to be creative and resourceful, including working with various suppliers and Bendigo TAFE students and staff to bring the project to life.

“The end result is a fantastic show garden with a strong local flavour, complete with ecofriendly, wildlife attracting and pollinating elements.”

Bendigo TAFE head of campus David Richardson congratulated the students on their successful creation.

“TAFE is all about hands-on learning and the Achievable Gardens project is a terrific example of what can be achieved when students have the opportunity to apply their skills to real life settings,” said Mr Richardson.

“Our students should be very proud of themselves, and everyone at Bendigo TAFE is proud of their work. This garden is an absolute showpiece for our Charleston Rd campus and I encourage our staff and the public to come by and see it in person.”

The Achievable Garden is located at Bendigo TAFE’s Charleston Rd Campus’ Food and Fibre Centre of Excellence (Building F) and will be on show until 10 December. 

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