Before and after: Swipe to see amazing retirement village garden makeover

OCAV marks 150th anniversary winning a garden makeover for Leith Park village


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Run-down patch restored to make a communal sensory garden for village residents.

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RETIREMENT village residents in Melbourne's north-east are enjoying finding their green thumbs thanks to a stunning garden reno.

The outdoor space at Old Colonists' Association of Victoria's Leith Park village did a double take when their new-look communal garden - which they won in a national garden makeover competition - was unveiled.

The neglected yard has been transformed from an unloved bare patch of grass into an inviting landscaped sensory garden by horticulturalist and TV personality Melissa King and gardening businesses, including Northcote Pottery.

The retirement village won the garden makeover in a competition organised by Northcote Pottery. Leith Park employee Jane Glynn sent in the entry and said she was thrilled they won the prize.

"OCAV is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, and gardens have always been a central feature of our villages," she said.

"What better gift could there be than one which restores a garden, and gives back to older people who enjoy the chance to potter, plant and get out in nature," Jane said.

The space - in front of the OCAV community centre - is now packed with flowering trees, garden beds brimming with foliage and flowers, wide, easily accessible paths surrounded by garden art and decorative screens that delight the senses.

Ms King and teams behind Northcote Pottery, Melbourne landscape firm The Garden Company and AMES volunteered their time, services and products, free of charge, for four days, transforming the once small patch of unused grass into a peaceful place for all to enjoy.

"The garden is easy to navigate and accessible for everyone to enjoy, and it features wide pathways, and raised planter boxes for easy picking," said Ms King.

"We have also included a bird bath to entice our feathered friends to visit and bring colour and movement to the garden.

"I'm so excited to be a part of this project, to create a garden full of visual interest and colour that will bring a smile to people's faces for years to come."

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Leith Park chief executive Phillip Wohlers said he was excited about the possibilities the community garden will bring to residents.

"It will become a focal point for our village, where people come together to chat, or to be alone in amongst plants and nature," he said.

"This is a sanctuary for the residents of Leith Park - a tranquil, beautiful space where they can gather together to chat, relax or stimulate their senses - and a place to nurture their love of gardening."

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