Roy and Janet have spent 53 years of service with the Wycliffe organization (involving postings all over the world). In their retirement they have volunteered a considerable amount of their time to establishing and maintaining native gardens around the Wycliffe Centre’s buildings on the 28 acre property. This also includes propagating a large number of the plants.
The Centre is now home to EQUIP Training which was established under the auspices of Wycliffe Bible Translators Australia, and exists to train intercultural workers in the areas of language learning, linguistics, translation, literacy and other language related roles. EQUIP is affiliated with SIL International (Summer Institute of Linguistics), an organisation that specialises in working with languages spoken by the world’s lesser known people groups living in over 50 countries.
The buildings in mud brick were designed by Alistair Knox in the late 1960’s and built by voluntary church groups in the early 1970’s. Half of the 28 acres are paddocks. There is a dam available to help irrigate some of the lawns and garden beds. Water is recycled from the sewerage system into the dam.
APS Yarra Yarra had visited Wycliffe about 4 years ago for a working bee and garden visit. Much has changed since then, many more garden beds and landscaping have taken place since. There were 20 members of our group in attendance.
It was a long walk around the various sections of the property with many beautiful views across paddocks. It was hot sunny weather but we saw lots of beautiful plants doing well, well-mulched garden beds free of weeds, some very recently planted. We often took respite in the shade of the magnificent big eucalypts that abound on the property, and were very impressed by what has been created in the various garden beds by Roy and Janet and some volunteers. Janet was telling me that while they were once at Wycliffe gardening 5 days a week, in more recent times that has come down to 3 days per week. They manage their time, taking off the wet or the very hot days but always putting in the required effort to create beauty and habitat for the people who live there or visit, and also for the wildlife.
Roy and Janet have used compost and gypsum to improve the soil in many of the garden beds. There is a good collection of eremophilas, correas, callistemons, hakeas, banksias, westringias, grevilleas, alyogynes, croweas, etc and some wonderful established eucalypts across the property. There is a constant problem with rabbits, and so a need for rabbit guards around most of the new plantings. There is also a healthy vegetable patch.
Roy also told us about their plans to extend the planting down to the dam to extend the bush corridor for birds and animals. I think we might have to consider having one of our garden visits morph into a Wycliffe working bee again, with plants & labour provided by us.
Thank you Roy and Janet – you are an inspiration to all of us.
Report by Miriam Ford and Jill Lulham
Images: Jill Lulham