Celebrating organic garden with a cuppa

Soil for Life home gardeners Serene Fabing, from Rocklands, and Johanna du Plessis, from Westridge, enjoy a cuppa with Magda Campbell, founder of Beacon Organic Garden at Beacon School for Learners with Special Educational Needs (LSEN), in Westridge. Pictured at the back is garden worker Alistair Sampson, from Rocklands, and Jean-Tay Heubner, from Beacon Valley, a former pupil of Beacon LSEN, who now also works in the garden.

As the country celebrated Garden Day on Sunday October 15, Magda Campbell, founder of the Beacon Organic Garden at Beacon School for Learners with Special Educational Needs, on Wespoort Road, raised a cuppa to welcome researchers to the garden, which she launched on October 28 last year.

All year round gardeners plant, weed, water and mulch but on Garden Day Magda said: “Today, enjoy your garden.”

And not having a garden is no excuse, she added.

“Go to a garden or enjoy your pot plants,” she said.

A few months ago Humboldt University of Berlin, in Germany, sponsored an indigenous garden – an area containing grasses, bushes, shrubs and plants that grow and hold particular significance to the local community.

Magda, from Westgate, said buchu, als, African potato and rooivortel, plants the Khoi used in treating ailments, and flavouring their foods, were being brought back to calm the stresses of modern life.

She said a section of the garden had been set aside to grow these plants and that another section would be used by a group of researchers to test the soil and cultivate the growth of local plants.

Magda also enlisted the help of NPO Soil for Life, to teach and help residents grow healthy, organic food using simple, low-cost and environmentally friendly methods.

The community garden was started to help pupils with special needs become independent after leaving school, by providing them with income-generating skills.

But since then it has grown into a hub for home gardeners to share ideas, resources and showcase the work of their green fingers.

Beacon Organic Garden Learning Centre is having an open day to celebrate its first anniversary on Saturday October 28, starting at 10am. Activities include gardening and healthy food preparation demonstrations.

Ikhaya Youth Movement will be showcasing their music and art, and community gardeners will be selling their vegetables and homemade goods.

Funds raised will be given to the Beacon School.

For more information call Magda on 079 543 2649 or email beacongardensa@gmail.com.