When Castlecliff resident Phil Holden came up with the idea for a community garden on Matai Street, the thought was that locals could help themselves to produce and learn how to grow it for themselves.

The community reacted positively to the idea and many chipped in to help put the garden together - including Chris Cresswell, who passed away last year.

As time went on, people began to lose interest, the weeds grew and produce sat unpicked.

Peter Dravitzki had seen enough.


"I felt sadness and anger at the state of it," Dravitzki said.

"When Chris passed away no one was really interested in keeping it going. I didn't know Chris well, but I knew him enough that he would have been pissed off with this."

Dravitzki is a lawn mower and a gardener and a couple of weeks ago he started tidying the garden up by himself.

He was observed in action and was joined a week later by two locals, who brought their weed eaters along to help get things under control.

On Wednesday night, eight members of the Matai St community garden Facebook page met to discuss plans moving forward.

"We wanted to make sure that everyone had a vision of what we can work towards, so that people who do help with it, don't just see it as work for nothing," Dravitzki said.

"We are all still passionate about people learning how to grow their own produce, that is what binds us."

Work at the garden is on-going. Yesterday Peter and his wife Sarah were collecting all of the rubbish and putting it into one big pile.


Later, they will be making new planting bays and moving some trees beside the footpath that walkers will be able to take fruit from as they pass by.

Dravitzki said ensuring that the garden stays tidy was simple.

"It just takes a couple of people who are keen to walk through it with a hoe to make sure the weeds don't keep coming back up.

"If produce is ready to be harvested, we need to let everybody know straight away, because if people don't know it's there to be picked, it will just go to waste.

"The ultimate idea is that this will be an example and once this is running really well, we'd like to set up gardens in other suburbs."

The Matai St community garden is open to anyone, to help with the clean up, learn how to grow their own produce or to help themselves to what has grown.