A freelance writer living and loving in the northern beaches of Sydney...travelling, writing, outdoor activities, gardens, and Pilates are a few of my favourite things. Visit me www.potpourritravels.wordpress.com or www.facebook.com/potpourritravels/
Published February 1st 2017
Turn Over a New Leaf in Sustainability at this Garden Centre
New year, new me, new life... or in this case, turn over a NEW LEAF. I can't help it, I'm a sucker for a New Year's Resolution. The whole get fitter, lose weight etc., is a bore, really, because it's all about me. So this year I'm embracing sustainability - maybe buying more from second-hand shops, or spending less time and money at big supermarket chains. 'Making sustainability fun for the whole family' is the tag line on the webpage for an enterprising and inspiring garden nursery at 224 Powderworks Road (Cnr Wilson Ave), Ingleside, NSW. New Leaf Nursery put permaculture into practice and each time I visit I get inspired to do more. I also come away humbled by the young, independent people who have put thought and passion into creating a business that supports their local community and cares about our planet.
Incredible Edible Supplies: The team at New Leaf do everything possible to grow their own - propagating herb and vegetable seedlings, fruit trees, and even hatching their own chickens. This means I know the seedlings I pick up there haven't been mass-produced (commercial seed is treated with hydrochloric acid so the seedlings from them are more susceptible to disease), and the chickens I buy haven't come from battery or barn environments where they've been cruelly de-beaked.
Generous Garden Design: The entrance is never pretty because Daniel and his team go out of their way to supply and source freebies wherever possible. I've picked up free pallets, free mulch - you just need your own bags, bins and effort, and free scraps for my chooks. A great team of qualified horticulturists and tradesmen is also available to come to your place and give free quotes and consultations on design to create a backyard space that suit your family's needs.
Poultry Pets and Friends: For around 15 years I've kept backyard chickens on a normal-sized house block in Sydney. You need a safe pen and roosting coop, and a little green space if possible (we net our vegies so the chickens can run around on the lawn). At New Leaf I can choose from about six different varieties of chickens, such as ISA browns (great layers) and Silkies (which the children love), White Leghorns, Bantams, and beautiful Rhode Island Reds. But there are also Muscovy Ducks, guinea-pigs, rabbits, and a petting zoo, so even if you don't have the space to keep them you can still visit and give children the opportunity to learn. Some of the older poultry that know where home is even roam around your feet and keep the bugs off the seedlings that you're about to buy.
I posted a brief on them in June last year when they ran a 'Permaculture Festival' day. It was a fabulous fun family day that showcased all their services and showed people that it's not that hard to keep chickens and have a supply of fresh eggs, or to build raised vegie beds and grow some lettuce and tomatoes, but with fun and love thrown into the mix. Recently, Daniel dressed up as a scarecrow for a whole week to raise money for a cancer charity. Girl Guides, Scouts and school groups are regular visitors to learn about sustainability and how to minimise our impact on the planet. The nursery is a wonderful, inviting space where they practise what they preach. Using recycled timber to build a 'coffee corner', plus a library with second-hand books to keep the littlies occupied, mum and dad can relax, get a caffeine fix, plus take a coffee plant home with you. New Leaf Nursery is a fabulous place to come an hour or a day for gardening supplies and a good dose of reminding us that the old ways of living have a place in this fast-paced digital world.