Autumn colours are spreading across a silent Stockwell Park as Covid-19 keeps admirers and volunteers at home. Marika Stacy, one of the ‘Friends of Stockwell Park’, said the gardens have been in such good shape for the past decade that it won’t suffer during this period of social (and garden) distancing.
“All volunteer work has been suspended because of the coronavirus,” said Mrs Stacy. “Even though we don’t really work near each other.”
The volunteers have been staying home, but are hopeful that as restrictions start easing, they’ll be able to get back to their Thursday morning weeding and pruning.
“This rain has come in the nick of time. Things were very dry there, but there hasn’t been too much damage and the rain has been very welcome,” said Mrs Stacy, confident that this period of social distancing won’t cause any long-term problems at the park.
Stockwell Gardens have benefitted from close to 30 years of volunteer work, turning the park into a popular spot for outdoor weddings, family pictures and outdoor festivals. Located at the corner of Richmond and Fitroy St’s, the gardens fell into disrepair in the 1980’s, but were resurrected by a team led by Olive Knox.
Today, there are just a handful of volunteers who continue the work – no more than five at a time – but Mrs Stacy said they are well able to take care of the gardens.
“There were nine in the beginning, but it was very necessary then. There was a lot more to do,” she said. “Now we’ve got it into a maintenance stage, mostly.”
Mrs Stacy said the bulk of their work consists of seasonal pruning and pulling out weeds.
“There’s always three or four blackberries we pull out each year. If they weren’t found and removed, they would become a problem.”
She also said they take out “thousands of Privet a year,” being “very meticulous.”
The one item that is on the Friends of the Stockwell Park wish list is some additional fencing to block off the Russell St entrance.
“It only needs three or four panels of the kind of fencing that’s already in the park,” she said.
The maintenance of fencing and furniture in the park is handled by the Snowy Valleys Council.
Anyone interested in joining the Friends of the Stockwell Park in their weekly gardening is welcome to come on any Thursday morning at 8:30am after the coronavirus pandemic passes.
“It’s just humming along quite well,” said Mrs Stacy. “There’s always little new small projects that we take on, but mostly it’s in a maintenance phase.”