Bowling green turned into garden
A plot of prime central Auckland real estate is flourishing as a community garden.
The 650sqm section, once used as a bowling green at the Pt Chevalier Bowling Club, now grows pumpkins, rhubarb, marrows and more.
The Pt Chevalier Bowling Club continues to operate however, one of club’s bowling greens was decommissioned 20 years ago because of poor drainage.
Two years ago the unused bowling green was converted from an overgrown section, into a community garden managed by Pt Chevalier Community Garden Group volunteers Ellen Schindler and Ally Burt.
The land, which includes Pt Chevalier Bowling Club, a croquet club and tennis club, was placed on perpetual trust in 1948 for use by the sports organisations.
That meant the land could not be sold and used for housing development in a neighbourhood facing increasing intensification.
Pt Chevalier is earmarked for intensification over the next 30 years under the Unitary Plan, the overall planning document for the Auckland region released in 2016.
Pt Chevalier Bowling Club member Sandra Eriksen said that in Auckland’s era of land redevelopment for housing, it was ‘‘very positive’’ the bowling green land was protected from being sold.
‘‘It is great we have green spaces like this - that this free space will remain in our community - despite all the intensification happening around us.
‘‘Instead of a multi-level apartment building being put here, we have this great place for locals, for families to visit, to learn about gardening and to contribute to being an active part of the community,’’ Eriksen said.
Schindler said the bowling green had a history of being boggy and water logged because of clay under the green.
‘‘This land could not be sold because of the trust, and it was not good for bowling, so we had the opportunity to start this community garden,’’ Schindler said.
Burt said the garden produced a variety of vegetables and herbs and some fruit, including grapes.
‘‘Our biggest challenge here is getting more volunteers in the garden on our working bee days,’’ Burt said.
The bounty the garden generated was divided between volunteers and the bowling club community.
Gardeners Ellen Schindler and Ally Burt say everyone is welcome to visit and volunteer.