By Jessica Anstice
As a little girl, her family’s garden was her sanctuary but now, Kooweerup Secondary College is.
Upon moving to the small country town, creative gardener Linny Jenkins threw herself into helping out at the community garden – co-running ‘Nature Play’.
Up to 20 children would join her to read stories, play in the garden, pick fruit and vegies and feed the chooks.
She then volunteered at the local primary schools which led her to filling a role at the secondary college.
Over the past two years, with the help of teachers, students and many kind donations, Ms Jenkins has transformed the school yard.
“I have always worked with my hands and heart. Creating and being busy is a way to express myself, ease anxiety and help our community,” she said.
“My style of gardening is to use colour and decor as inspiration; combining elements found in interiors and exteriors in the home.
“Using colour lifts moods in people and their environments. Certain colours will calm, whilst others will excite and energise.”
Many donations and gifts such as an aviary, budgies, chooks, implements, pots, plants, dirt, ponds, bricks, rocks and even horse poo, combined with the facilities budget, have allowed for much creativity within the school.
“My philosophy in life includes two very important values that I hold – nurture and nature,” she added.
“I remember very well being at a bland, cement filled school. I was sad, lonely and uninspired.
“This led to a passion to make home and school environments happier, calmer, brighter and full of positivity.”
Taking bland areas and turning them into colour-filled areas of intrigue for students to gather safely and warmly was one of Ms Jenkins’ main goals.
She says she hopes the students always feel “cared for” and “inspired” when the walk the school grounds.
“Gardens are cathartic; they change and grow to evolve into areas of fragrance and play,” she explained.
“Students, teachers and parents have remarked on how happy the grounds make them feel.
“I absolutely adore my job. It’s a privilege to be able to create and improve the surroundings with colour and positivity.”