Giveaway of Herbs

We are glad our Devonport community likes to buy our goodies; seedlings and worm tea. Thank you. Now, during autumn cleaning there is a big surplus of herbs in some of our plots. We are very happy to share it with our neighbours. Herbs are displayed at the entrance to the garden. This week it is Lemon Balm/Melissa – for good sleep, Russian Tarragon an excellent for poultry seasoning, St John’s wort for relaxation and Gotu kola for rejuvenation. Just help yourselves and enjoy.

Meeting with Dawn, a Fairies Expert.

Yes,there are other people who confirm the existence of Herb Fairies. One of them is Dawn from the Hibiscus Coast.
She used to see them for ages, even painted them. Fairies like to appear in dreams especially of children.
In the picture, Dawn donates her book of Fairies to Eva. One of the pictures from Dawn’s book will be displayed in the science Pavilion soon.


Update from Quail family

From the initial 12 babies quails we could find 3 left. Taking into consideration the statistics, it is an average number of survivals in a quail family. They are all in very good condition, healthy and joyous. Father is still on duty watching their safety. He had just found something tasty, so called his children to eat together


Herb Fairies at Devonport Library

Lemon Balm infusion, listening to Melissa lore, painting with real flowers, that’s the activities children who participated in at my presentation on the 15 January at Devonport library liked the most.

I am expecting that lots of my students will come to visit our Garden, not only during the summer holiday but all over the year. With excellent support from library staff we can meet again with other Herb Fairies in the Library.

Visiting fellow Community Gardeners from Mangawhai

Each and every Community Garden in NZ is different and that’s the beauty of community organisations that have been created by local people for local needs. You can always learn something new.
It was very nice unplanned visit to Mangawhai Caommunity Garden at the Mangawhai Domain with a very warm welcome by coordinators Joan and Ted. I shared some information about herbs that I am involved with at Ngataringa. Vicky & Kirsten showed me the bags of green vegetables that were to be distributed to seniors in the local community. I have already passed on advice given us by John, to water freshly sown seeds and young seedlings with kawakawa infusion.
I found this visit very informative and rewarding.

Our new residents – Frogs

A big group of tadpoles have found an excellent location in our Garden. Under care of Lynton, they enjoy life in a little paradise he created for them in an old bath. They feel they are in in a jungle, trees, logs, and mosquitoes breading areas. Lynton even installed for them a small lamp attracting bigger insects like moths to keep our frogs busy hunting during the night. All their community is very healthy and happy . How many? nobody knows. The younger ones still have their tails, older ones already look like real frogs without tails. Children visiting our Garden as well as chickens, now have something more to admire

Update from Quails family

Our baby quails are growing very fast. There are still 7 of them. This picture shows the last time when they are all together. Now, only the father looks after young ones as mother is already busy starting a new family with new partner. Seems that everyone is now happy, as lonely male was waiting patiently ready to become a father.

CO2 Catcher Plot

It sounds like a joke, because all plants catch CO2 for its photosynthesis, but Yarrow – Achillea millefolium is a real hero in this category.
Last year’s discussion with Polish students on global warming led to the idea of the creation of a Carbon Catcher plot based on Regenerative Agricultural principles. After research, the children chose Yarrow to be the Carbon Catcher Hero because it is a perennial herb with a very dense root system, easy to grow, tastes delicious in a banana smoothie that we make together and is very healthy. If you will research more you will find information that in Roman times Yarrow was used to protect against dark forces and devil energy. This feature can be also very valuable these days

Quail – our new residents

How we are lucky.

A quail family has chosen Ngataringa Organic Garden for its residency. Parents Mama and Papa Quails with 13 or more kids are living happily  in our garden. Father is busy  keeping an eye on family safety , checks if all kids are together , if any  stuck in bush , calls him and waits until the baby joins family. Mother leading the team shows the best food areas . They look very happy at NOG. It is really difficult to count them as they are very active and hard to distinguish from the ground colour. I can promise that all family is in this picture, but you welcome Sundays and Wednesdays from 10am – 2pm.


UNITEC – Sanctuary Community Garden in danger

There is a real Jewel within community gardens – the Sanctuary Community Garden at the UNITEC. Situated not far away from Polish Community House it creates an excellent opportunity for “green lessons”, that teach sustainability for polish students. On a previous Sunday, I visited our fellow gardeners in the city. I was very touched with meeting the youngest gardener in action planting kumara with his mum.

Recently, I have heard disappointing news that the Sanctuary Community Garden an iconic food forest for almost 20 years with fruiting trees and beautiful landscape, will be destroyed next year due to residential development by the Wairaka Land Company.

I hope it is not too late to stop bulldozers from destroying this green oasis for new residents specially young ones. I believe that the garden has a huge value for future residents of the area. The Sanctuary Garden would be the best gift for them. Any Social Audit Report would only confirm it! “


Happy Fairy Melissa

Students from our Polish Sunday School were wondering if Melissa – our Herb Fairy, would be happy if they painted her picture with real colourful flowers and green leaves.
Let’s try !
Mexican Marigold, Calendula and Nasturtium give us yellow and orange colours, Roses, Geranium and Holyhock gave red and pink colours. The variety of greens for painting was enormous. Grape, Celery, Parsley and Wandering Jew leaves give different shade of colours.

During class, some Nasturtium flowers were used as an additional snack at the lunch break.
Children decided to practice at home using plants from their gardens
That’s the beauty of living close to nature.


Herb Fairies Academy – first lesson

What a day! You can feel that spring is finally here. This Saturday, children from Devonport had a lot activities to choose from. Also the gardening shop across from Ngataringa Community Garden was full of customers, leaving nowhere to park. Despite all these serious obstacles our first lesson and meeting with Fairy Melissa – Lemon Balm went smoothly. We all had great pleasure to work with excellent students; almost 4 years old Frankie and her older sister Evie from Vauxhall Primary.

Fairy Melissa was delighted. She was very proud of her students and the picture Evie coloured during the lesson. She decided to invite more children and repeat the lesson in February. Her friends; Camomile Fairy, Plantain Fairy, Calendula, Stellaria and Viola Fairies will need to wait little bit longer for their turns.

Herb Fairies Academy – reconnecting with Nature.

There is no doubt, with the expansion of computers and digital technology our lives have become more and more disconnected from nature. We all live more and more in a virtual/artificial reality. A lot of species are already extinct and some will survive soon only thanks to natural parks, reserves and zoos. Loosing connection with nature is dangerous, especially for children. An excellent place to sustain children’s inborn love of nature can be Community Gardens.

The Ngataringa Community Garden (NCG) creates an amazing environment to teach children the almost forgotten knowledge and skills of how to use the medicinal properties of herbs for health, enjoyment, understanding and respect for nature and to experience “hands on” environmental sustainability.

Herb Fairies Academy is a series of workshops for children aged 5 – 10 designed and run by Eva Scherer simultaneously In Polish Sunday School and Ngataringa Organic Garden.
In the picture a group of students at Polish Sunday School explore the beauty of “Melissa the Sleeping Fairiy”.

Tamariki at Polish House – Chasing spring

Do plants have children? It was a very difficult question. So children in the Tamariki playgroup lesson were looking for these tiny plant’s children, even using magnifying glasses. They found them.
Yes, they were inside the flowers. There were small seeds there in the camomile flowers. Children took these seeds to sow them in a small plot outside of the Polish House. We will watch them growing each time we come. But what is it! An ugly caterpillar on a nasturtium flower? Why did Babcia Eva bring them in a plastic container? We don’t need them!   They are also plant’s children.  These are poplar flowers. When Eva was a small girl, children played with them in spring a lot.

Polish Sunday School at Massey Community Hub.

The weather was good and students from Polish Sunday School were very happy to work at real gardening plots planting seedlings of celery and other vegetables at Manutewhau Community Garden.
Some of children already had gardening experience from Ngataringa Organic Garden that they had visited last year, so they were very excited at looking at numerous worms in worm farm and using “worm tea” as fertiliser for seedlings. They knew what goodies they bring to plants. Their enthusiasm was contagious to the rest of the students. For some of them closely observing to the warms was a real challenge.   Thanks to Samantha the Hub Coordinator, we could practice “real gardening” making little bit of a mess at Hub’s plot. Anyway – a positive outcome



Honey Straight From the Beehive

What an unusual occasion – to try honey not from the jar, not from the supermarket, but directly from the beehive just after bees have finished making it. That’s what toddlers participating at a Kids Bee Class run by Jessie from in Victoria Park kindergarten experienced today. They also tried nectar from real flowers – exactly how bees do, and they learned about pollination.
The lecture about pollination was acted out by ladies dressed as beautiful mandarin flowers, and they were visited by the bees. Pollinated flowers became mandarin fruits that students ate with appetite at the end of Classes.
Jessie promised to visit Ngataringa Garden to run this Class for North Shore kids soon.

NOG little sister

Ngataringa Organic Garden (NOG) now has a little sister – a small plot at the entrance of Polish House in Morningside area.  Chickweed , Violet, Lemon balm, Comfrey  and  Nettle are the first herbs I have planted there. Now, during  winter, there is time for them to root well in a new location. We will start to use these herbs next week during lessons of  the Sunday School and Playgroup. These herbs are very common also in Poland, they have only different names: Gwiazdnica, Fijołek, Melisa, Żywokost lekarski I Pokrzywa.    Cornelius is our volunteer who has built these plots both at NOG and Polish House.

Special guests

On Tuesday we had a visit from Takarunga Playcentre. What guests! Everything was very exciting to them.  As the plants are very happy when you pick them and use their medicine we were greeted by Fairy Herb Melissa and later we drank very tasty tea from Lemon balm – Melissa lives.
The weather was good, so it was lots of fun feeding  chickens, picking chockos, vietnamese mint , fennel   and other herbs. Some older “students” already knew a lot about plants. Looks like they help  their parents In  a garden. For me it was a great pleasure to meet with other professionals.

Social Sculpture

These 3 solitary bee hives, situated in Auckland CBD, look like they have come from a different planet.

Every first Sunday of the month there is a big group of enthusiastic urban beekeepers and families with children from Bee School  at the meeting.  Professional expertise by the teacher Peter Alexander explained that without our help, due to a wet summer and lack of food, the bees will not survive the coming winter.  Peter will supply all 3 bee hives with food. Big cities need bees as part of the ecosystem. In return, we need to care for them by providing lots of flowers, and minimize poison chemicals in the environment.  In Paris, and other big European cities, bee hives have been placed on the highest building roofs in the centre of the  citiy for more than 10 years.  Auckland has chosen parks. Good on us!


A Convenient Neighbourhood

For years  students at the Glenfield Intermediate School have looked at the hens and ducks that they see over the fence into my place at Bruce Rd.  Their friendly interaction is really welcomed by both the animals and myself. Last Tuesday 8 students from Special Unit of Glenfield Intermediate together with teachers and parents paid an “official visit” to my place. As well as introducing certain plants, and the way we can propagate them,  big attention was on patting the chickens. We tried to do the same with ducks, but didn’t succeed, they were not so friendly and escaped with a loud quacking. Such a convenient neighbourhood can be very beneficial for students not only from Special Unit but for the rest of the students as well.


Visit of Teachers from Sustainable Schools

A Group of teachers from North Shore Enviro-Schools visited NOG community garden on the 21 of March. They were introduced to different activities that their students will have the opportunity to experiencing during the school year. The portfolio of hands on processes Eva prepared for this meeting had been adjusted for school curriculum subjects, including.

  • Following a ‘recipe’ to create rich, nutrient dense soil the with help of microorganisms
  • Identifying, harvesting and learning about the health properties of herbs to make delicious tea
  • Visiting NOG’s beehive and using beeswax ointment to learn the art of hand massage.

No doubt, as well as the teachers loving all these activities,   later their students will have a lot of fun too.


Devonport Recycle Centre


The Devonport Community Recycle Centre, which is a neighbour of Ngataringa Organic Garden,  has turned one year old, so we celebrated this special event together.  There were lots of excellent organic dishes prepared by Eileen and the famous Chase’s pizza made a delicious menu. Together we feel like we are doing an excellent job for the community. Full synchronicity.

Visit by a Scientist

“We are all one. The InterdDSCF1336ependence of all living forms is unquestionable. At Ngataringa Organic Garden (NOG) we give t meaning  to this sentence and  transform  it to joyful play for children. Understanding and respecting the wisdom of nature ; Hildegarde von Bingen  herbs, teaching respect of fellow friend when massaging their palms or foraging plants for lu
nch. That’s what   Environmental sustainability in practice means for us

. “ Ph.D. Eng. Piotr Grzybowski   admired  the way we ran our classes for students and as contribution to our programme he set up the bath for the purpose of worm farm for children. He as well agreed to become our volunteer Consultant


Children from Polish School in a Garden


27 children with their parents visited Ngataringa Organic Garden (NOG) on Sunday the 16th of October.

They came from all around Auckland and have been fascinated with all their adventures during a tour. What an unbelievable story; this small chick that Graham – the manager of the garden- holds in his hand comes from the egg he hold in the other hand. Children could also hold a tiny chicken in their hands.  Another attraction was tasting of nettle tea. Touching nettle is painful, but tea is almost tasteless.

What is the sweetest plant on earth? There was lot of responses, but only one was right – It is stevia. Children took home dried lives of stevia.

The visit was finished with a hand’s massage, one of techniques from CMC (Children Massaging Children) programme

Open day coming soon

At our open day, which will be soon, we will include all our activities that we have been involved with.

Herbs are making a comeback. On the wave of interest in everything that not only enhances the taste of food, but also strengthens the body at any age, herbs increasingly dominate in the kitchen restaurant and home. They are also effective in the treatment of many diseases.  They serve health and beauty.
Poland is undeniably a strong power in the area of cultivation and use of herbs. The best example may be the Herbal Corner in Korycinach Podlasie, part of Herbal corner, or botanical garden.  In Podlasie Herbal Garden are five educational paths. Here you can explore more than nine species of medicinal plants, which today are used in the household. There are about 150 species of dried plants that form the basis for anyone to create something suitable for your needs and to blend with spices, herbal and fruit tea, herbal tinctures, and potions of health and beauty
After returning from Poland, inspired by this wonderful garden, I began to create an educational trail at the Ngataringa Organic Garden (NOG) in Devonport.  We have flowerbeds with culinary herbs (eg. Basil), with popular medicinal plants (eg. Camomile) and plants processed only by specialized companies (such as Lily of the Valley).
Currently, favorable conditions exist to give this knowledge to schools by virtue of their requirements for programs on ecology and nature conservation. The first stage of initiation for student NOG visitors are:
• visit the garden and general familiarization with herbs
• tasting nettle tea
• look inside the fence to the farm hens
• passing by alongside the hives of bees
• hand massage with a cream based on bee wax
• approximation cycle of plant growth and development in the context of a holistic life.

For enthusiasts who want to deepen their practical knowledge, the next degree of initiation to participate in the activities of the Club Hildegard von Bingen ( our patroness)
• deepen knowledge about the medicinal properties of popular herbs
• capsulate the herbs collected and dried by students
• making beauty cream with marigolds.

Lots of fun and practical skills.  Dates of classes at Ngataringa Organic Garden will be shown on a regular basis in Gazeta Polonia.

St. Hildegard of Bingen (1099 – 1179)- the author of works on medicine and healing
• Recently published Polish books: The health of St. Hildegard von Bingen; Kitchen St. Hildegard von Bingen; Post health St. Hildegard von Bingen;  Food that treats. St. nutritional therapy. Hildegard von Bingen
• From 2013 operates Polish Society of Friends of St. Hildegard, which include as well doctors.


How to make Herbal creams?

CCET workshop

It was a real pleasure for me on 14th. May 2106 to teach members from the Chinese Conservation Education Trust (CCET) how to make herbal creams.
I chose Comfrey, Plantain and Rosemary recipes.  These creams are very beneficial for skin problems including bruises, healing bone fractures and rashes.
As well as the sharing and exchanging of knowledge, there was the additional benefit that the participants had a wide knowledge of herbs and their usage from China.

Grow Harvest Eat


Grow Harvest Eat – This gardening course for beginners on the 21st May 2016 attracted 14 participants at Kaipatiki gardens.  I will keep updates each season.

with 3 more ;  in October – all about seeds and seedlings, the end of November –summer crop bonanza and  March – summer is not over yet –  let charge batteries before winter .

All these courses will be available at NOG  .