I went to the Fitzroy community garden open day on Saturday 21 February. I got there at 3pm, with the event supposedly running from 10am-4pm. I paid $5 entry at the door, which was a surprise as it was not mentioned in the video they released to advertise the day.
I was disappointed because there seemed to be no event as such – no information sheet, no guided walk, no schedule and no real point in being there. There seemed to be no other visitors either, just locals wandering around working on the garden, chatting in the shade and watching their children playing.
The garden itself is impressive and full of delicious looking vegetables and herbs. An elderly Vietnamese man tugged at my shirt and beckoned me to follow him, and we walked to where some melons were growing on a vine. He evidently spoke no English and when I asked him whether they were his he just smiled. I smiled too because I could clearly see his pride in what he has achieved in the garden, even if we could not talk about it.
It was nice to see another facet of the Fitzroy community from the inside, but as an event the open day was lacking a purpose. If I had known that a talk or something was on at a particular time I would have come then, but as there was no other information I came when it was convenient for me. I could not tell if there was a better time to have been there.
Two teenagers were on a low stage in the area under the building rapping, with other kids listening and dancing to the music while a few adults stood around talking. It did not feel like a public event and after walking around the garden I left, having been there only about 15 minutes.
I’m sure the open was held with the best of intentions, but I also wish that the organisers had sought and had received some more advice, perhaps from the Open Gardens organisation, about how to organise and market a successful event. It may be that I missed the best part of it, but given that there was no program to follow, how could I know?