On a beautiful autumn day, Fortem brought together a group of first responders and their families to participate in another wellness workshop held at the beautiful Lanyon Homestead in Tharwa. Running on the same day as Homestead’s winter harvest workshops, participants were greeted by an abundance of fresh produce being grown at the homestead, as well as old school family games such as skittles! To make the day even more authentic with a historical feel, we were also treated to a duo of violin music playing musicians on the veranda.
Participants got ready to get their hands dirty and make their own mini succulent garden using succulents grown on site at Lanyon Homestead by the wonderful Moraig who had everything ready for us to begin our garden journey! According to Chinese Feng Shui, succulents are good luck, so we all felt very lucky being surrounded by so many plants of varying colours and types to choose from that had been specially grown for us!
“Having this time to myself and be able to create something is something I never get to do; I am so excited to be here.”
Alongside the array of succulents, participants were also given an abundance of choice with recycled pots, teacups, and different styles of containers to use for potting our succulents. While some chose teacups, others went with traditional soup mugs, and some participants were really organised and had brought their own pots to be able to make larger succulent displays! This made a few of us envious as they were able to fit more lovely succulents in their pots!
Not only were we spoilt for choice with the pots, but we were also allowed to pick two each so we could all create two often very different pot designs and then create a very different succulent garden to reflect the difference. There were many different types of materials to use in addition to the plants, that included local sandstone, stones, coloured glass drops and other locally sourced materials to make our succulent pots look special.
Some of those attending the workshop were from the same office so they decided that they would try to propagate their succulents to share with the group and swap at work which was special. With some participants creating their succulent pots to take into the office they are also able to spread the love by using their succulents to remove contaminants from the air as plant food, thereby purifying the air of the office for everyone! And unlike most plants, succulents do not release carbon dioxide at night. Instead, they continue to produce oxygen which freshens the air and improves your breathing – assuming, of course, you are not allergic to plants!
Most of all, the day allowed first responders and their families to connect in an activity that was underpinned by Five Ways to Wellbeing, specifically allowing the participants to connect, learn a new skill, and be mindful and present in the activity. One participant commented on how it made them realise the importance of spending quality time with family members doing something that connected them in a way they often did not have time for, stating:
“I will now endeavour to do more activities one to one with my daughter to strengthen our relationship. I didn’t realize how little we do just the two of us.”
Find a Wellbeing Activity in the Canberra region on our Wellbeing Activity Calendar.