You’re invited to the Secret Garden
For well over 18 years The Secret Garden and Nursery has been operating down a little lane on the Hawkesbury campus. Featuring hundreds of species of plants; including rarities and natives the nursery is one of the best stocked in the local area and the community garden is a hive of activity.
Everyone is welcome to use the facility, volunteer your time in the garden, hold an event such as a wedding or children’s birthday party or just simply visit, enjoy the beauty and purchase some great plants for your own home. The nursery and ornamental gardens have also won many prizes at the Hawkesbury Garden Competition.
Set on 5 acres of land, The Secret Garden is also a ‘horticulture as therapy’ garden that offers training through the Food for Thought program; providing a supportive and educational environment for people with mental illness and disabilities, with the sale of plants helping to finance this project. Over 60 people a week currently participate in this program and it’s still growing! Many local schools also visit regularly tending to their own veggie plots.
The garden and nursery would also not survive without the hard work of a dedicated team of volunteers and Mutual Obligation workers (formally Work for the Dole). Garden Clubs from around Sydney also visit regularly.
One of the highlights of spending time in the garden is getting to know the locals – Bruce and Molly the pigs, Shamoo the sheep, Patch and Co Co the goats, a gaggle of ducks, chickens and more...
Over the coming months there are plans to repair the poly tunnel where most of the rare and old-fashioned varieties of plants are grown, as well as connect the site to power and upgrade facilities. The Secret Garden doesn’t receive government funding and relies heavily on the sale of plants to fund the important work it does. It hopes to be fully self-sustainable in the next couple of years if it receives more community support.
UWS staff and students, and our wider community, are encouraged to support the Secret Garden through a number of ways:
- Visit – come over during your lunchbreak or call in on the weekend
- Donate your used plastic bags or plant pots
- Make a donation – all donations over $2 are tax deductible
- Have your wedding or children’s birthday party there
- Set up your own herb or vegie patch on site
- Volunteer your time to help in the garden or nursery
- Buy lots of plants! They have a huge range of plants including natives, exotics, herbs, succulents, cottage garden, water-wise plants, hedging, grasses, edging and trees. Wholesale prices are available to the public
Helen feeding Bruce the pig at the Secret Garden
How to get to the Secret Garden
The Secret Garden and Nursery is located on the Hawkesbury campus of UWS. Enter via College Drive from Bourke St, Richmond. Turn right down the dirt road at the Security Hut and follow the signs.
The Secret Garden and Nursery is open for plant sales Tuesday to Saturday 9am – 5pm. For more information about volunteering or visiting please call 0414 784 460.