Kilmore Community Garden volunteers and members celebrate the planting of an olive tree on Saturday. The garden is expected to officially open in March, and new members are welcome to join.

By Colin MacGillivray

A KILMORE Community Garden is one step closer to fruition after members hosted a tree-planting day on Saturday.

Dozens of community members flocked to the garden site, which is at the western end of Union Street near the Anglican church building.

Committee members organised a raffle and plant sale to support the garden, with people invited to help paint garden beds and bring a picnic lunch.

With the garden’s official opening planned for March, president Fiona Mcgettigan said the tree-planting day was about fundraising and getting community members involved.

“We want to get the message across that this garden is for absolutely everyone, no matter what ability you have or what your interests are,” she said.

“You don’t even have to be interested in gardening. You could just come for a chat or just to have a look around and sit and read – whatever you want.

Students from Kilmore and Upper Plenty primary schools helped paint a banner for the occasion, as well as decorating garden beds with their artwork.

NorCen Financial Services chairman David Wheeler presented an olive tree on behalf of Bendigo Bank, which he helped plant with Anglican priest Father Andre Du Plooy and his wife Patty.

Ms Mcgettigan said both the bank and the church had been instrumental in helping start the community garden project.

“Bendigo Bank has been amazing. They’ve given us two grants and that got us started and gave us a bit of encouragement,” she said.

“The church has given us the use of the property, which is fantastic. It’s church land, but it’s not a church project. Fr Andre wants to make that clear, that you don’t have to be a member of the church to use the garden.

“They felt that the land was just sitting here, so they wanted to put it to use.”

Ms Mcgettigan said the day had been a success, raising money through the sale of plants.

She said anyone interested in joining the community garden could email kilmorecommunitygarden@gmail.com for more information.

“We’re offering membership at $20 a year for individuals and $15 for families,” she said.

“People can set up their own beds or we can help them set up beds once we get some money from our fundraising.

“We’re also offering sponsorship, so if businesses want to sponsor us, each bed costs about $100 to set up and fill with soil … and we can put plaques on each of the beds for whoever has subsidised them.

“We’ve got so many plans. We’ve got plans to do art, music and storytelling in the garden.

“We want to do a sensory area and a kids garden. We’ve got lots of plans, but the big message is that we want everyone to feel welcome and get involved in whatever shape or form they want to.”

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