Marie Clarke with Ku-ring-gai Mayor Jeff Pettett, Deputy Mayor Barbara Ward and ECG CEO Leanne Babic at the 2022 Volunteers End-of-Year Celebration at the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden.

From Our CEO

Dear All,

We wish to welcome back our volunteers and clients to 2023 and hope that you had a restful and enjoyable break.

It was wonderful to see so many volunteers at our end-of-year event on 8 December.

I take this opportunity to thank our volunteers for your valuable contributions in 2022.  These made a difference to so many clients, especially during the unprecedented severe rains throughout 2022. Thank you too to our loyal clients for your patience when our services were interrupted by the severe weather last year.

It is with great sadness that we said goodbye in 2022 to two volunteers who made a significant contribution and impact to Easy Care Gardening, Sue Curry and Leon Roberts. Both Sue and Leon will be sadly missed but their memories will live fondly forever in our hearts.

To all of our volunteers who left Easy Care Gardening in 2022 due to retiring or having a break, thank you very much for your efforts over the years - you also will be missed but know that you will always be part of the Easy Care Gardening family.

We are glad that so many of our volunteers are joining us again in 2023 to continue to make a difference to our clients’ lives, assisting them to remain living independently  in their own homes and to celebrate Easy Care Gardening’s 35th anniversary.
I hope that you enjoy reading our first e-newsletter for 2023 and would like to wish everyone the best of health, happiness, and prosperity for the year ahead.

Warmest Regards,
Leanne Babic- CEO Easy Care Gardening Inc

Lunar New Year
Do you know someone who might be interested in volunteering at Easy Care Gardening who speaks Mandarin or Korean?  They might be interested in this special Seniors Festival event.

Joys of Edible (and Easy) Gardening
Having herbs on hand is a great way of adding flavour to your meals and being able to add fresh ingredients to your pantry cooking. Easy Care Gardening’s Meredith Kirton will show you the basics of growing herbs in a hanging basket (all materials will be supplied) with tips and tricks on how to get your harvest to work for you.  

Find out about the not-for-profit group Easy Care Gardening Inc and how to volunteer or access gardening services that Easy Care Gardening provides.  So just like the basket, why not hang around and learn something?
When: Tuesday 14 February
Time: 10.00am - 12.00pm
Where: North Ryde School of Arts Community Hall, 201 Cox’s Road, North Ryde
Cost: Free
Bookings: Essential, Korean and Mandarin speaking interpreters will be available at this event.
Book in here
Seniors Festival 2023

The NSW Seniors Festival will be on again, but this year they have brought it forward and it will run from 1-12th February. 
The Ku-ring-gai Seniors Expo is coming up on February 8, from 10am till 2pm and the Henley Garden party will also once again be running on Thursday 23 February 2023.
If you want to get involved, stay tuned for upcoming workshop dates on the 7th and 14th February with Ku-ring-gai Council and The City of Ryde.  More details on each council's website.

Thursday, 23 February 2023 | 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Join us at the Henley Community Gardens for a fabulous morning of great entertainment and morning tea, held in the spectacular setting of the old Henley Bowling Club, overlooking the harbour.

Hello and Goodbye

Welcome Our New Team Member

Gardening Coordinator (Area 1) Lynda Wightman, pictured left, with new recruit Oliver Koch.
Oliver Koch joined ECG as coordinator in late November.  Oliver is currently completing a Horticulture Certificate 3 and a Bachelor of Science (Botany) online. He started his working life as a Barista in 2018, and later worked at Alpine Nurseries (Dural), before joining CannaPacific in Lismore as a Junior Grower. Oliver returned to Sydney working as a Service Coordinator for Urban Plant Growers throughout 2022.
Oliver has great cultivation and garden pest management skills, as well as a strong background in IT knowledge and applications. Please say hello to Oliver as he works with various teams over coming months.
Farewell from Marketing

We are sad to announce that this is Meredith’s last e-newsletter. On a happier note,  Meredith has successfull obtained a Communications and Marketing Manager position with the Foundation and Friends of the Botanical Gardens. This is a wonderful opportunity for Meredith’s career to grow and a role where Meredith will shine in.  

A look back at Meredith’s time at Easy Care Gardening.  
I think we can all agree that Meredith has improved the profile of Easy Care Gardening  through a number of avenues and there have been many highlights of her time with us (not exclusive):
  • the successful segment on Gardening Australia;
  • securing a new Patron- the wonderful Judy Horton;
  • renewing and re-establishing our banner project;
  • refreshing our flyers/ the client welcome packs;
  • the establishment of frequent newsletters- printed and electronic;
  • improving our brand awareness through re-establishing regular presentation to groups and regular articles in the press;
  • in addition, Meredith has hosted many workshops that have been enjoyed by many potential clients, current clients, future and current volunteers and the public;
  • Meredith has brought professionalism and freshness to the ECG AGM reports.

Meredith has left Easy Care Gardening’s marketing area in great shape for our future and for this, I personally thank her.

Meredith’s memory and legacy of her work will live on in all the printed materials.
Lastly, I hope you will join me in wishing Meredith all the very best for her careerand personally, wherever life may take her.

Kind Regards,
Leanne Babic
Could you possibly be a “Once in a Blue Moon” mulch delivery helper? to accompany Oliver, our new ECG Garden Coordinator, with the collection and delivery of mulch to our clients.
We are seeking additional volunteer support (just one person) to assist on a Tuesday about once every 6 weeks (or more often if you are available) to register on a rotating roster.
The hours are generally about 8:30am to 2:30pm
***Even if you are available occasionally, it will make all the difference***
If you are free to help, please fill in this questionnaire with your available dates for January through to March 2023.
Alternatively, please email or phone our office on 9983 1644 to express your interest
The team from Deloittes on Impact Day
Don't forget to fly our flag at your garden visits - it's a great way for us to get our name out and about and attract new volunteers.  If you need a new tear drop banner, or any of the components to be replaced, for you group, please let us know here.

If you are a volunteer, client or corporate group and want to say thank you easily on line, consider writing a Google Review.
Celebration recap
It was wonderful to see so many volunteers at our End of Year Function on December 8. While we didn’t identify any future champions, the Barefoot Bowls again proved popular.  We haven’t used Killara Bowling Club before – but based on feedback about the meal and the friendly staff we should certainly keep it on the list for future events.

There was a friendly, vibrant atmosphere during the evening and the event gave volunteers from different teams a chance to mix and mingle. The venue looked great - thanks to Lee and Virginia for help with the decorations. As usual the lucky door prizes proved popular – made possible through kind donations of staff and one of the volunteers. Who would have thought the biggest weed competition would have sparked so much rivalry!

On a down side COVID affected the event – in spite of our best efforts. An inconvenient festive season reminder that COVID is still in the community and we need to keep our guard up. If you contracted COVID around this time I hope that you are now well and fully recovered.

It is always such a pleasure to plan and attend events for our wonderful volunteers. It is a small way that we can show you how much we appreciate all that you do. Plans are underway for a “Thank You” event during National Volunteer Week (15 – 21 May) and of course there will be other events to celebrate Easy Care Gardening’s 35th Anniversary. If you have any ideas for future venues and activities please let me know. I am always happy to hear from our volunteers.

Coralie Jensen
Volunteer Manager.
Pic captions:
Left Image: Jennifer Nakhla with Trevor Giblin
Right Image: Zoe Cushing,  Kaz Abramowicz, Steve Lochart, Jennifer Nakhla, Doug Jamieson
Tallest Weed Competition

and the winner is…
Tom Vanderlaan from Larissa’s team who won with this humongous asparagus fern!
***SOS…Larissa is short of volunteers in Area 3, and with weeds like this one, desperately needs your help!***
Sue Curry joined ECG on 9/7/2009. She contributed 1446 hours of her valuable time, on 499 separate occasions.

Coralie Jensen reflected on her time. “Sue was a gardening volunteer, assisted in the office, and joined the committee of management in 2015 as the Volunteer Representative. Sue was a wonderful volunteer -  and as volunteer representative contributed to the welfare of the other volunteers. Sue was a regular at training and social events. She was kind, supportive, positive and quick to laugh.  A day spent with Sue was a good day.

An online condolence book for anyone who would like the opportunity to add their name or leave a message for Sue’s family, including daughters Megan and Yvette who have volunteered with us, will be sent to the family at the end of February. Any message of support would be appreciated.  

ECG also lost another great volunteer in August.
Leon Roberts was remembered by our CEO Leanne Babic as someone who “not only gardened for us, but he maintained our tools- a service that is priceless.”  She went on to add, “I recall that earlier in 2022 that Leon was so concerned about us continuing to garden for his wife Vickie after he passed. He was thoughtful, caring and loving until the end. The happy news is that we are continuing to garden for his wife.”

Gardening Coordinator, Jennifer Nakhla pondered her time with Leon. “Leon Roberts joined ECG in September 2004 and I was very privileged to garden with Leon from January 2007 until 2017. Leon then offered to maintain and repair our garden tools and remained a volunteer with ECG until 2021.  I think volunteering was second nature to him.  He was always ready to help even at short notice, and his calm, can do approach was a big influence and help for all the teams he worked with. His love of gardening and his extensive experience were a wonderful asset that benefited our clients who also appreciated his good humour.”
Leon gave 638 days (2115 hours) to assist others.
Christmas Cleanups
Lynda's Ryde Saturday Team was lucky enough to garden for Margaret - it was their last garden before Christmas and bunches of NSW Christmas Bush were received with thanks at the end of the day.
Left to right: Margaret D, Malinda Fraser, Julia Hsiang, Haritha Kutagola, Lisa Stedman, Caitlin MacKrill, Rowena Hubble, Julian Gallardo, Andrew Martin, Alec Shirazi, Brigitte Martin, Liam Stedman. 

Liam and Brigitte are Duke of Edinburgh program participants (attending on Saturdays with their parents) and use their volunteering hours to help ECG's clients.  The Award has Bronze, Silver and Gold levels, and you can start the Bronze award if you are 14 or older. If you are 16 and over and doing the Duke of Edinburgh Award, you're able to attend without parental supervision.
Christmas Snapshots
We'd love to see shots from your working bees.  Here are some office day capers from the last day of the year at ECG.
Dates for your diary
To search for all Seniors Festival events, click here.

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