Citycare Property apprentices help with Cashmere Church garden replanting

One of the key areas in which Citycare Property has a positive impact on the communities in which it works is through ongoing beautification and replanting of the many council-owned gardens.

In Christchurch, Citycare Property partners with Primary ITO to provide apprentices with practical experience through the Career Pathway programme. Recently, apprentices Edgar Huata and Sophie Carsons joined Geoff Sergeant from the Open Spaces Management Horticulture team to refresh the garden adjacent to Cashmere Presbyterian Church on Macmillan Avenue.

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(From left) Apprentices Edgar Huata and Sophie Carsons work with Geoff Sergeant to prepare and replant a council garden in the suburb of Cashmere.

“We’re currently on a programme of removing the old annuals and replacing them with new annuals,” says Geoff. “This is something we do every six months at the end of spring and autumn to ensure residents are able to enjoy colourful flowers all year long. We like to keep things interesting as well so always make sure to mix it up each time.”

Before the new plants can go in and once the existing plants have been removed, the garden beds need to be prepared. Geoff says this process takes around three days for a relatively small area such as the one outside the church, however, it is critical to ensure the plants stay healthy and grow well during the next six months.

Given the somewhat tricky location of the garden—on a hill, on a narrow windy road, with regular passing traffic—the team did have to work quickly and efficiently to minimise any disruption.

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Visitors to the Cashmere Presbyterian Church can now look out on a garden of blooms as they come and go.

“While we were working,” says Edgar, “a local resident, Agnes, stopped to say that the garden always looked fabulous with its different displays of colours at various times of the year and to thanks us for the great work and to keep it up. It was a real boost to receive such positive feedback.

“I get a lot of satisfaction from a job well done and thanks to the guidance from supervisors such as Geoff and the different experiences I'm getting at Citycare Property through the Career Pathway programme, all of which is helping with my learning, I am confident I will have the various skillsets for a career in horticulture.”

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The newly planted garden in all its finery — set to bloom for another six months.

Continuing Citycare Property’s drive for sustainability and innovation, Geoff and the team have also identified a plan for the future for offering the plants that are to be removed to the community so they can be used for composting, propagation, or replanting, thus removing waste and increasing sustainability—a win-win for the Cashmere community and for Citycare Property.