The False Bay Hospital gardens:  adopting a plot brings pleasure all round

False Bay Hospital Outpatients' circle garden started by 2nd Fish Hoek Scouts and maintained by Sunbird Garden ClubThe Sunbird Garden Club ladies who have created the restful and colourful gardens at the False Bay Hospital were invited by the False Bay Hospital Facility Board to a morning tea in appreciation of the wonderful work that they have done and to encourage new members of the garden club to contribute to the ongoing caring for the gardens. Apart from the members of the garden club, attendance included Rodney Ndyalvan of the Food Security Project who has re-established the organic vegetable garden on the hospital grounds and Luyanda Lombo of SANParks who has aided Rodney in his endeavours (see insert below).

After a wonderful tea provided by the Facility Board, and words of thanks as well as insightful information about the work of the Facility Board from Board Chairman Allen Rose-Innes, the group toured the hospital grounds.

Allen Rose-Innes, Diana Deeks and Jandy Jaques Jandy Jaques of the garden club has been the driving force in establishing and maintaining the Garden of Remembrance on the circle at the Casualty entrance to the hospital. Prior to 2003, this was just a weedy grass patch. Jandy’s husband Philippe, a retired doctor, has played an important role too, building the stone wall onto which the plaques in memory members of hospital staff are displayed, and also the three benches gratefully used by both personnel and patients. Dr Bridget Farham sends her gardener Eric to help Jandy on Monday mornings with the heavier work.

Chris and Karl von der Heyden helping to establish the garden at the outpatients' circle, early 2003The circle at the Outpatients’ side was originally started by young scouts of the 2nd Fish Hoek Scout Troop, using plenty of elbow grease and surplus energy to dig up the barren ground, before planting hardy cuttings and spare plants from their parents’ gardens. They also helped Sandy Barnes, an ardent conservationist and fynbos fundi, to remove aliens from the surrounding wild area within the hospital grounds as part of their community service for badges and awards.

The other island of garden at the Outpatients’ side was started and Bjorn von der Heyden, Craig Little, Chris Martin and Grant Little getting False Bay Hospital gardens started in 2003 maintained by members of the Fish Hoek Christian Church. Both the circle and this garden have now been taken over by Diana Deeks of the garden club. At present it is only Diana and Jandy who are working in the gardens and they would love to have assistance from other ardent gardeners in the community, especially those who yearn to get their fingers back in the soil and no longer have gardens of their own! What Jandy and Diana would like to promote is the adoption by members of the community of small areas of the gardens. Volunteers could work in ‘their’ plots in their own time. As the gardens are established this would mainly entail False Bay Hospital's Garden of Remembrance established by the Sunbird Garden Clubkeeping the areas weed free, removing dead material and replanting with new plants where necessary. The plants are mainly indigenous, wind-resistant and hardy.

If you are interested and would like to adopt a plot in the hospital gardens please phone Jandy Jaques on 021 782 7556.

The Food Security Project:

Rodney Ndyalvan of The Food Security Project at False Bay HospitalRodney approached the Hospital Management with the idea of re-establishing a sustainable vegetable garden in the grounds. This had been attempted before with varying degrees of success. Rodney’s proposal had a two-fold purpose: to provide the hospital with fresh vegetables grown on the grounds and to supply work to young people between the ages of 15 and 18 from Masiphumelele, who would then be able to use the knowledge gained in creating food gardens at their own homes and within their own community. Despite the comments that they would not be able to grow anything in the very sandy soil, they have harvested good crops of turnips, potatoes, beetroot, tomatoes, leeks, onions, and carrots which they have marketed to to vegetable shops and to False Bay Hospital staff and patients with the cooperation of the resident dietician. Rodney is waiting for a firm lease from the Property Management before expanding the project further.