Five years on and Bellinger Landcare and the Bellingen Health Action Group have celebrated their achievements at the Wellness Garden project at Bellingen District Hospital.
The celebration included a talk by Kim Cheney from Bellingen Bush Regenerators about work recently completed at the hospital's Arboretum.
The Wellness Garden received funding from the Bellingen Shire Council Environmental Levy Community Fund in 2014 with the bush regeneration work funded by the same program in 2019.
The garden is adjacent to the new sub-acute wing and the bush regeneration work in the nearby gully have greatly enhanced the quality of patient and visitor experience at the hospital.
Mary's Café now overlooks a lush rainforest canopy which is often frequented by Wompoo Fruit-doves feeding on the Bangalow Palms there.
The doves are a threatened species and the rainforest is Subtropical Rainforest on Floodplain, itself a threatened ecological community on the NSW North Coast.
The Bellingen Bush Regenerators have removed vine weeds including Cats Claw Creeper from the rainforest to protect and enhance its high ecological value.
If these highly invasive vine weeds are left, they quickly smother and destroy all other plants including large trees.
At the morning tea participants were given a species list of rainforest plants which would have originally occurred at the site. The handout highlighted species suitable for home gardens thus providing important habitat and food for birds, bees, butterflies and other native species.
It is hoped this work will continue to keep the site in good condition. Everyone is particularly appreciative of Barbara Moore's efforts in driving these improvements to the rainforest patch and garden.
Related: Wellness Garden turns five
The gardening team is still weeding, planting and maintaining in the gardens area. They'd love a few more volunteers to help garden alternate Mondays for about one and a half hours, followed by morning tea and a chat.
Please contact Fenella at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.