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Shared garden supports Kaye’s wellbeing

Written by Link Wentworth resident Kaye

I am 60 years old, and I come from New Zealand. I have been living in the Upper North Shore for eight years. I love this part of Sydney. I’m close to national parks, which I love as I enjoy bushwalking. I have a Schnoodle named Cecil and a cat named Susie. I am happy being surrounded by animals and plants.

I have post-traumatic stress disorder and was recently diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. I was in hospital in the mental health ward at the time that my application was put in for housing. I was in the situation where I was facing homelessness. Thankfully, this was the first unit that I looked at.

When I moved in, I wanted to show that I take pride in where I live so I started with a little garden and it has grown from there, extending into the lawn area and outside my neighbours’ units. I received encouragement from Link Wentworth who is very supportive and passers-by who stop to say ‘What a beautiful garden.’ When I take Cecil for walks, I like looking at other people’s gardens.

My mum grew roses and other flowers and dad grew veggies. I was always interested and learned a lot from them. Gardening calms me down. It makes me feel good nurturing the plants and giving them what they need and seeing things grow. I love taking photos of the garden.

Photos taken in 2020

In 2019, I won the Annual Gardening Competition prize for Best Communal Garden. And in 2020, I was joint winner for the Best General Garden prize. We have a lot of garden space here. We have flowerbeds and other plants growing in front of the units. And I have a lot of pot plants outside my door and along the pathway.

Gardening is trial and error – what plants need shade, where to plant things, what needs more water. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Start small; a few cuttings from neighbours can be a way to start.

Watch the below video featuring Kaye: