5 things to do this weekend in your local LGA now that it’s warming up!
This is a guest blog written by Genevieve Stewart for UNE Sydney
We’re now well into September and Spring is definitely here! The seasonal plants are thriving, I cannot stop sneezing, and many of us will probably need to start avoiding those notorious areas the Magpies favour (and I’ve been swooped already by my local magpie – I thought I had proven last year that I wasn’t going to take your babies, Larry!).
Unfortunately, we’re unable to enjoy Spring here in Sydney in the way we usually would; but instead of focusing on what we can’t do, I wanted to suggest a few things we CAN do that will make you smile and fill you with that warm sunshine feeling associated with Spring.
I will admit – some of these things you’ve more than likely heard before during lockdown, but I like to think I’ve put enough of a spin on them that you will feel inspired to do one of them today!
Find out where the flowers are blooming and head on over
This is your sign to put down the IT and go outside right now (after you’ve read the rest of this article of course).
I will bet my bottom dollar that there is an area of blooming blossoms within walking distance where you can smell the flowers through your mask. Nothing raises your spirits the same way walking through a park full of flowers does! I have been walking through the Wisteria Garden on the north side of Parramatta Park and it’s the perfect place to enjoy the current warm sunshine. The colours are plentiful, the birds are happy (except for Larry, who needs to please keep 1.5 meters away from me), and everyone in the garden seems to share that childlike excitement for the approaching summer holidays.
You won’t regret a walk, especially in Spring! Open google maps, find the closest green patch to you, and head on over!
Visit an independent grocer and make one of those Pinterest recipes you’ve been meaning to try
You know those little shops you wander past regularly, peer into and think “Hmm, I have to go in there one day and see what they have…”. Well, those little shops will change your life! Here in Parramatta, there are MANY small independent grocers and the majority of them stock delicious food and ingredients specific to certain ethnicities and cultures that you won’t find in the big retailers. On top of that, the people behind the counter are always friendly and can advise you on life changing tips to perfect your lasagna. You also end up creating a bond with the wider community, which is something I have struggled with since moving to the city. I can confidentially claim that the fresh produce and locally sourced items, like sauces, spices, and bakery items you get from these small grocers are infinitely better than what you can find elsewhere.
I challenge you to find a recipe you’ve been drooling over, visit one of these small independent grocers, and strike up a conversation with the shop assistant. Oh, and of course, make the food and brag to everyone that you would’ve been on MasterChef in another life.
If you’re in Parramatta, I recommend Oatlands Village Fresh Produce. Everything I get from that store blows me away. Try any of their fresh fruit and veg, or any of their pasta sauces, and I promise you won’t regret it!
Spring Clean your book collection and donate to a local Street Library
This is one of my favourite things that I’ve done recently. You can’t have spring without the cleaning! And this is a much nicer and easier decluttering experience than what usually comes to mind when someone says Spring Clean – I promise!
Go through your book collection and pick out titles you’re happy to part with, especially if it means another person gets to experience them.
Then think one of the street libraries close by, or jump onto their website and check the map for nearby locations. ParraParents have also created a blog post with the locations of most (if not all) Street Libraries in Western Sydney that you can reference here, too. There are also independent, homemade libraries that I have seen around my own neighbourhood. If you only have one or two books you want to donate, head on over to one of the little book libraries and leave your books for somebody else to enjoy.Even better if you have more than a couple of books you’re looking to give away, you can go on a trip to visit multiple street libraries nearby and add your books!
And, of course, if you need something to read yourself, you can pick up one of the free books. There’s a Street Library in the park next to my favourite café, Bells Road Social, where last year I was lucky enough to pick up Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and have a read with my coffee. And now with restrictions starting to relax for LGAs of concern, I’m looking forward to reading outside in the park again this spring!
Propagate a wild plant and customize a pot.
Here’s one that might not be of interest to everyone, but I encourage you to have a go at it regardless. When you’re on your next neighbourhood walk, be on the lookout for overgrown plants or vines that you can take an innocent snipping from. Growing plants is very rewarding, and propagating an already happy plant in the wild is even more satisfying if you can get it right!
There are plenty of videos and blog posts on how to propagate many different kinds of plants, but my recommendation would have to be vines, or anything that climbes. They have little legs that make them easy to cut and grow. You will of course then need to make customized pots for these cuttings once they’ve rooted and are ready to be planted! Terracotta pots are cheap and easy to decorate, which is a lot of fun and another way to spend a sunny Spring day. You can either paint freehand or get more creative and take it to the next level by using fallen leaves and flowers, or cutting out shapes in old sprouting potatoes to use as stamps and/or getting the glitter and metallic markers out!
If your new hobby takes off and you become overrun with potted plants, then you know what you’re giving away as Christmas presents this year! Everyone wants a customised, handmade, homegrown gift… right?!
See below a picture of my cat protecting some of the plants I’ve successfully propagated.
Put some water out for the wildlife
This one’s self-explanatory. Even if it’s just a plastic container, leave water out in multiple places and make sure you replenish it daily.
In my apartment block, we have a shallow bucket under a tree and then I have a birdbath on my balcony. It may get a little messy, and the cockatoos have been known to destroy my plants, and my goodness I am frightened of Larry, but at the end of the day I’d rather they have water than my balcony be clean.
Thank you Genevieve and team UNE Sydney for these awesome little Spring adventures to try in our local LGA’s!
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