Our fun-loving, ukulele playing leader is full of vision, enthusiasm and warmth. She’s the big picture person who holds the threads together.
“I’m the second daughter of five siblings, with 3 boys born after me. My early childhood memories are of growing up at Bellevue Hill in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. Later we moved to the Northern Suburbs and I’ve been in my current home at Northbridge since 1984. My grandparents migrated from Greece in the 1920s. My grandfather on mum’s side opened the first Milk Bar in Australia at 24 Martin Place where the Tesla building is now.
I remember eating spinach pie (spanakopita), lamb once a week and there were always Greek biscuits in the biscuit jar. We didn’t have a home garden although I do remember growing up with a lemon tree. It’s a very Greek thing to give each other a lemon tree when you move into a new house.
Mum was on all the school committees. After school I did primary school teaching. Then I had kids and for 20 years after that ran my own corporate massage business. Through my children going to a Steiner school, I was exposed to ideas of planting and sustainability. When the Y2K bug was a thing, I became involved in local meetings about food security. Y2K didn’t end up being anything but it really got me thinking.
I loved singing as a child but grew up believing I couldn’t sing. When the ukulele craze started about 10 years ago I took it up. You don’t need to read music, just learn to play 3 cords. It was easy to accompany myself singing. Now I’m part of Bonza Uku Singing Collective (BUSC) which meets at the Dougherty Centre in Chatswood once a month. In my 30s I did Hap Ki Do Martial Arts and achieved a black belt, second dan. I do volunteer English teaching. I guess I like being around other people.
In 2006 I started the North Shore Climate Action Group. The climate is getting hotter and drier. As gardeners we’re on the front line and notice it sooner than anyone. We need to think of ways of climate-proofing the garden. Things like wicking beds and mulching are important. I find the idea of seed saving from plants that have grown successfully right here in this microclimate really exciting. I’m into my 5th year of growing seed-saved ‘speckled-trout lettuce’.
I love growing the sprouting broccoli because you can take and it keeps on giving. The health of the overall garden interests me – the soil, the recycling, the wildflowers, the bees and how it all comes together. My vision for the community garden has never been just about the produce. It’s produce plus community. Bringing people together, sharing, learning and teaching.”