Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Gumbi Gumbi Gardens

I do love a well-designed garden!

My idea of a really good garden is one which appeals not just to the physical senses, but to the mind and spirit as well.
The University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba already has one well-established great public garden of this kind, in its Japanese Garden. It has done it again, with this Aboriginal garden. It is beautifully designed and rich with uplifting meaning and symbolism.
Even for those who choose to ignore all that, it is simply a pleasant place to be, even though it is still so very new. It is a great place to go for a stroll, watch the birds, take a picnic, bring international visitors, or just to have a snooze in the shade on a sunny afternoon.

I was delighted when I was given the opportunity to be shown around a few weeks ago. The Toowoomba Field Naturalists were given the first official tour of the garden by two of the people who were driving forces in its creation, Donna Moody and Uncle Darby McCarthy. It was a pleasure and a privilege. If you get the chance to do the same, don’t miss it, as it's very rewarding to be able to have a deeper understanding of the ideas behind the design.
I had been told that the university was building a new “bush tucker garden”, so was very interested to discover that this was a rather inadequate description. Bush tucker is certainly one of the components, but only a small part of the whole.
The plantings are all of local native species, but older existing plants of many other kinds have also been retained. This is a garden that is very firmly grounded in its own place in the world.

The Gumbi Gumbi Gardens are in the University’s “front yard”, stretching from West Street up towards the administration buildings. Parking inside the University can be difficult (though possible) on a weekday, but easy on weekends.


Mary Kearney said...

As the landscape architects for the Gumbi Gumbi Gardens, we were thrilled with your comments. Development of the Gardens is an ongoing process, and we are currently looking at installing more plants to pick up some that weren't available last year. It's good to have endemic plants available at the Crows Nest Nursery. The smartphone app to guide you around the Gardens will also be available soon. Check out the Gumbi Gumbi Facebook page. Mary and David Kearney

Unknown said...

Hello, where could I purchase some native grasses, and trees found in the Gumbi Gumbi gardens? I work at a community kindy in the district and I would love the establish a selection of native trees in the children's nature playground.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Patricia Gardner said...

Hello Jayne.
The best source of local native plant species is the Crows Nest Community Nursery. I think you could even get free plants from them, since it's for a community kindy, but if not, they are very inexpensive.
Unfortunately, the nursery only opens on Thursday mornings.However, if you can't get out there on a Thursday, and you have some ideas of what you would like to grow, you could arrange to have plants brought to Toowoomba for you to pick up.
I suggest you get in touch with the nursery manager, Lisa Churchwood, at Lisa.Churchward@tr.qld.gov.au. You would find her very helpful with suggestions, so long as you can give her a rough idea of how many plants, what sizes, and maybe you have some favourite species in mind.
If you want to talk more to me about it, I suggest you email (see email address in white column at right).