Branching out in the garden

Jess and Dwayne, with Pippa, 2, in their Werribee garden. (Supplied) 214775_01

Werribee residents Jess and Dwayne have been given a green thumbs-up by Wyndham council.

The couple were last week announced as winners of the council’s My Smart Garden – My Isolation photography competition, which aimed to show how people could become backyard gardeners and become more self-sufficient.

Wyndham’s environment and sustainability portfolio holder, Cr Heather Marcus, said the free My Smart Garden program, which is run across several Melbourne municipalities, educates people about growing food and transforming their outdoor spaces into a functional garden.

“The free online program helps residents become more in touch with nature, eat fresh homegrown food, turn waste into valuable resources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create habitat for wildlife,” Cr Marcus said.

“We asked Wyndham residents to take photos of their progress and Jess and Dwayne won over the judges with photos of their transformed garden – and a stray chicken who temporarily found her new home in their backyard.”

Jess said that she and Dwayne had always wanted to grow their own produce.

She said the COVID-19 restrictions had provided them time and motivation to start transforming their garden to grow food.

“It was hard work getting it all together, but we are so pleased with the result,” Jess said.

The pair purchased some treated pine sleepers from Bunnings before the first stage of restrictions and spent a few weekends preparing their raised beds.

Jess and the family knew their garden was inviting when her two-year-old daughter, Pippa, pointed out that a chicken had appeared in the backyard.

“We were delighted with our new garden assistant, but unfortunately Speckles had an owner and she had to return to her own home,” Jess said.

See for details or follow the @mysmartgarden page on Instagram.