1.  What do I say if someone likes my brooch?

You could explain the project to them briefly, saying its part of a ‘pollinating jewellery’ project. If you’ve read the more detailed descriptions on the blog then hopefully you will be up to speed with all the aspects of the project. You could start by just talking in more detail about your particular brooch.

2.  How long can I keep the brooch in my possession before I start wearing it out?

1 – 2 weeks. This should give you time to log into the blog, upload some information about yourself and enter some of the discussions as well as enjoy the brooch. After a period of 2 weeks maximum you need to start wearing it out on a regular basis and engaging with people who show an interest in it, in the hope it will move out of your care/ownership into someone else’s.

3.  I don’t get it? What’s the project’s relationship to republicanism and gardening?

This small project is part of a larger one. ‘Signs of Change: jewellery designed to make a better world’ looks(ed) at jewellery as being an agent for social change, amongst other ideas.

We had a Federation style of gardening in the early 1900s so it has been speculated that perhaps if we eventually move to a republican form of government in Australia a republican style of gardening may come into being. Richard Aitken states, ‘The very nature of republicanism is in belonging to a community. People would figure strongly in any Republican garden style.’*

Gardens have social value – public parks and gardens that form a part of our civic places are valued and planned for, and people now have a say in many aspects of this type of planning. It’s this revaluing of the social aspects of gardening that unites it to ideas of the republic as both express a real interest in the concept of the expression of community ideals and community renewal.

*Aitken, Richard. Gardenesque. Melbourne: The Miegunyah Press, 2004, p.205

4.  Why don’t we all just get more involved with our local community garden as a way of helping facilitate a perceived need for change?

While many ‘community gardens’ interest many people, for some this type of gardening is not for them for whatever reason. But this does not mean lone gardeners working from home for example don’t want to be a part of their community. It’s these people who are part of a community but who want to interact with their community on their own terms that need inclusion. Encompassing and enfolding the different range of people that make up a multicultural community in order to somehow bring them altogether connects them to this sense of a need for participation in community ideals.

5.  I think about republicanism as being about ‘flag waving’ or in jingoistic terms (Jingoism = extreme devotion to the nation, fanaticism or ultranationalism). What do you think republicanism is?

I’m suggesting it’s not about these ideas of flag-waving, rule by elites etc… but rather ideas associated with community and people working together towards a public good. Within this project it’s about republicanism of the type that embraces the social values attached to notions of community well-being and civic virtue.

6.  I took the brooch on as I just liked its aesthetic qualities and its association with gardening – I wasn’t really thinking about the political aspect of the project. I like the Queen and Prince William and am not so sure I’m for a republic for Australia.

Malcolm Turnbull in The Age newspaper (January 23rd 2010) suggests many Australians hold real affection for the queen but, “…that our head of state should really be one of us – an Australian living in Australia, not whoever happens to be king or queen in the United Kingdom.” He also suggests that the republican cause is not anti-British. Our constitutional monarchy is old fashioned, conservative and backward looking. Maybe it’s worth considering evolving and moving forward?

7.  Why aren’t all the plants indigenous to Australia?

I wanted to express the multicultural nature of our society through choosing a variety of plants with a variety of heritages that everyone could potentially embrace rather than being too prescriptive. It’s a project about community and representing everyone and I wanted to capture this spirit in the choice of plants.

8. I’ve given the brooch away to a complete stranger who was really interested in the brooch. I haven’t seen the person I gave it to post an entry on the blog yet, and it’s been two weeks, what can I do?

Maybe they are busy and it will still happen. If it never turns up again there are a million scenarios that could be at play. Maybe they lost it and are too embarrassed to say so, or maybe they are struggling to let it go. You were trusting enough to be part of the project and do the right thing, so its out of your hands once the brooch is gone.

A project of this nature is always going to throw up both best case and worst case scenarios.

9. No one has asked me about my brooch and its been months (weeks/years) what should I do?

Just keep wearing it out. It would be great to hear from you about how you feel if and when it does leave your care. I wonder if you will feel liberated or really sad, or something else altogether?

10.  I’ve lost my card what can I do?

I can post out another, just let me know your postal address, my email address is on the Guide for Owners page.

11.  I want to contribute my excess lemons (herbs, tree seedlings etc..) to my local community somehow, what can you suggest?

Maybe you could leave them outside on your nature strip with a note saying “Free – please take”. Or perhaps you might be able to leave them at the local shop if they are happy to help? Word will get around and you’ll no doubt find that people will be really appreciative and it might lead to something else happening or to someone else wanting to do the same….

You probably have a local neighbourhood house that would be receptive in helping facilitate this passing on of produce/plants/flowers/seedlings etc….

12.  I don’t have anything that I grow that I could give away but I like the idea of doing something for my community that is garden related. Most of my garden is full of plants that don’t really produce anything, what could I do?

What about the seeds your plants produce? There might be something someone a few streets away is desperate to get hold of that that you have! Perhaps they don’t have the money to buy the plants or can’t find them locally. Maybe you could offer them a cutting taken from your plants?

You might find the local council has revegetation schemes running and maybe you could help nurture some saplings/grasses or whatever to help them. You may also have a community nursery which is interested in growing and promoting endemic plants to help maintain local habitats … they may need help from local people with jobs such as tending young plants for them over a hot summer ……

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