THE Fletcher Jones gardens will be back to their colourful best for spring after an overwhelming response to newspaper articles last month calling for volunteers and plant donations to boost the historic gardens.
Warrnambool resident Lex Caldwell volunteers 40 hours a week in the heritage-listed industrial gardens and he and Mill Markets stallholder Jenny Bardsley appealed for help to bring the 1.4-hectare (3.5-acre) gardens back to their former glory in time for spring.
Mrs Bardsley asked for people to donate plants or cuttings to establish Friends of the Gardens or manage a three-year plan to contact her.
Articles in The Standard and the Warrnambool Extra created interest and people came forward with a range of donations for the gardens, which date back to 1948.
“It’s been good,” Mrs Bardsley said.
“We’ve got about 15 to 20 phone calls. There’s been all sorts of things: donated plants, (people) giving time, offering cuttings, coming to work in the garden. People have donated money for plants which will pay for all our requirements for seedlings this year.
“There’s people who have offered their skills managing a three-year plan but we’re very much in the now at this stage. What this has done has given Lex time to work on the bigger picture.”
She said the gardens, which surround the former factory that closed in 2005 and was heritage listed in 2006, held sentimental value to the people who phoned in offering to help.
“That’s what people were saying when they phoned. It’s terrific,” she said.
Mr Caldwell was also pleased with the response.
He said he would have to wait until the site, which is on the market, was sold and learnt what the new owner’s intention was for the site before he made any long-term plans.
“We put down a three-year plan about six weeks ago,” Mr Caldwell said. “You’ve got to do that, otherwise you’re going day to day. If it’s sold the new owners will want a plan for the gardens.”
Until the site’s future is decided, Mr Caldwell’s priority is continuing to maintain the gardens with help from the newest volunteers who will complete tasks including weeding and planting.
“There’s an area we’re rejuvenating,” he said.
“We just started this week. It’s a main area, a part that never got done because of time.”
To help in any way contact Mrs Bardsley on 0428 504 801.