Rockdale Community Nursery - paradise for plant lovers.

Rockdale Community Nursery – paradise for plant lovers.

This view dazzles you at the entrance.

This view dazzles you at the entrance.

What a place!  For one it’s huge.  The entrance & car park is lovely with different Eucalypts & one very special Melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia I think) that must have a girth of at least 7-metres.  It looks like a tree you would find in a forest or in a rural area as it has thick peeling paper bark.  Most Melaleucas I see have been peeled by mystery gnomes in the night.

You walk into the nursery past an established Orange Jessamine hedge (Murraya paniculata) on one side with another species of hedge on the other & are faced with the decision – which direction do I head? We started at the beginning next to the car park & walked through row by row.

The range of trees & plants is astounding.  They have more for sale than I have ever seen in one place.   Chances are, if you want it & it is not a specialized plant, it will be here, though they do have specialized plants as well, like bonsais & orchids.

The following are just some of what I saw for sale.  They have quite a few species of tree, both native & exotics – flowering gums, Ginkgo biloba, ordinary Fig trees & variegated Fig trees, Jacarandas, Golden robinia, Grevillias & Callistemon & many more.   There was a wide range of fruit trees, such as apple, pear & olive trees.

They had Gymea lilies (Doryanthes excelsa), Agaves & Yuccas.  There were lots of different kinds of native grasses & native ground covers that would be perfect for verge gardens as they are tough. Some are quite striking & colourful.  They did have Nandinas, but these were way down the back…last choice perhaps or hopefully.

There were flowers too – Petunias, African daisies, other daisies, Lavender & Begonias, different types of Gardenias, Prince of Orange (Ixora), Roadside Day lily (Hemerocalis), Bennelong Ruby iris as well as white & purple flowering Agapanthus & Clivias.   There were lots of different species of roses, as well as standard roses.   It was immediately obvious that many of the plants for sale catered to the tastes of the different cultures living in the area as not everyone likes native plants.  This nursery is full of colourful plants.

There were gorgeous grass trees of 1.5-metres tall or more.  There were also some grafted standard weeping Grevillias & hedging plants & vines, both native & exotic.  There was lots of palms & cane & I’m sure I saw some non-invasive bamboo.  There was a good range of herbs & vegetables.  I even saw corn that was doing very well.

There are two shade houses filled with plants such as Madonna lilies & ferns, though there was much more than these.  The only thing I didn’t see was any cacti, though I may have missed them.

As for the prices, they were great.  On the whole I estimate that they were at least half price or less than what they would be in a regular nursery.   When we went, twenty Begonias could be purchased for 75 cents each.   The grass tree I wanted, but did not buy was $700 & was probably the most expensive plant in the nursery.  Clivias could be bought for $7 & established Agapanthus for $9.   Herbs were $1.50 each making it very cheap to set up a vegetable or herb garden.  Well-established trees were between $30 & $75. Most of the plants that I looked at were priced between $6 & $14.  I lost interest very quickly in the prices as I could see that they were good.

Other products needed for the garden such as sprays, fertilizers, peat moss & potting mix are also for sale.

Some background about the Rockdale Community Nursery.  They supply plants to Councils, landscapers & builders as well as the general public.

The nursery was established 18-years ago as a joint project between The Intellectual Disability Foundation of St George & Rockdale City Council.  Their pamphlet says that the nursery has two goals – “to be a professional wholesale nursery providing high quality plants at competitive prices & to provide people with intellectual disabilities vocational opportunities so they can improve their lives & earn a meaningful wage.”  I would say that they have well exceeded their goals & what great goals they are.

They have 5 staff members who are all horticulturalists so it is easy to get advice & information about your garden & the plants you are buying.  The nursery employs 15 staff with an intellectual disability & they are trained in the industry before moving on to other horticultural jobs in the community.

The workers are very friendly & obviously take pride in their work.  They will help you get the plants you have purchased to your car, which can be a great help.  There is also a growing nursery located in Bexley that is not open to the public, but which also serves to train people with an intellectual disability in this kind of work.

Rockdale Community Nursery’s webpage (http://bit.ly/9VOrw5) says they offer contract growing, seed collection & propagation, delivery & technical advice.  In 2000, the nursery grew nearly 700 trees from seeds & cuttings for a development site in North Arncliffe & also provided plants for the 2000 Olympics.

The nursery has a loyalty system where, once registered, they give you a 10% off voucher on all plants & products on your next visit, plus a small tag that has your loyalty number on it that can be attached to your key ring.  Rather a great idea I thought.  Once you have spent $200, you receive $10 off.  They also send you an SMS when they have sales or other events.

Go.  You won’t be disappointed. 

The Rockdale Community Nursery is located at 41 Beach Street Kogarah NSW 2217.  Ph:  9553 7346.

Their opening hours are –

  • Monday to Friday 7.30am – 3.45pm
  • Saturday 9am – 2pm
    Penunias in abundance.

    Penunias in abundance.

    Gorgeous Grass trees

    Gorgeous Grass trees

    Roses galore

    Roses galore

    Agave and banana trees

    Agave and banana trees

    One of the two shade houses

    One of the two shade houses

     

     

     

     

Advertisements