OPINION Cleaning up the garden, preparing for winter planting, weeding, pruning roses and other tasks took place near me recently. In our community garden in Fitzgerald Street, we invited the Apex Club of Geraldton to come by and have a busy bee with their members. Eleven energetic folk turned up and made light work of the task. They set out to do one voluntary community job a month. This helps members interact with each other while doing something worthwhile. The people that live in my neighbourhood do a bit in the garden, but are mostly unable to due to age and illness. In a community garden in an aged, lower socio-economic area, it is very important to always present the garden as a place that echoes the values people love to embrace. Somewhere green, edible plants, somewhere to sit and relax on summer evenings and above all, to be seen as setting a high standard. We’ll have to endure more hot days yet and more strong winds before relief arrives from rain and cooler weather. It is not the time to be doing much planting, but it can be the time to prepare seedlings, especially from seeds. At the moment, in the garden we have Christmas lima beans, passion fruit, black fig, rhubarb and sweet potato. There are also nine empty garden beds not being watered. There is plenty of room to plant up when the time arrives. A bit of advice on seed saving: it’s good to have them put carefully away to pop into seed trays with the first rains, or when you move house (you can take a bit of your past with you). However, there are things you can try out if you have some shade. Crinkly or flat-leafed parsley is a winner. When let grow out, it produces a bounty of seed which can be saved. All the herbs are favourites in the summer — rosemary, coriander, mint and chillies are a winner, along with thyme, oregano and lavender. Most of these can be grown in pots and probably are better there, because some can become quite invasive. Anything spiced with herbs is usually delicious. That’s it for now. I’m looking forward to sharing people’s gardening ideas in the coming months.