‘CHELSEA SPRINGTIME’ (2007)
The Mary Bell Memorial Artwork
PAINTED by 90 PARTICIPANTS on 9TH SEPTEMBER 2007 at BICENTENNIAL PARK, CHELSEA, VICTORIA. THIS WORK WAS COMMISSIONED by LONGBEACH PLACE INC. TO MARK THE INAUGURAL CHELSEA DOWNUNDER FLOWER SHOW.
1.2m x 1.6m
Mary Bell was in born in Albury, Victoria, and spent her early life at Howlong on the Murray River. It was here that she began her lifelong interest in horticulture and the preservation of the environment.
After she married and on her arrival in Melbourne in 1944, she took up residence in Chelsea. She was a well-know and respected resident of the district and her fame quickly spread after she began promoting the “no-dig garden” for people with disabilities.
Soon after she began writing a regular column titled “Over the Back Fence”, in the local newspaper, the Mordialloc-Chelsea News. Mary soon enthralled her readers all over Victoria and beyond with her helpful gardening tips and her extensive knowledge of herbs, non-toxic herbal insecticides, and local flora. She lectured at Burnley Horticultural College and her recipes and answers to the hundreds of letters she received were both informative and entertaining.
Mary Bell’s love of gardening raised thousands of dollars for local charities through the sale of potted plants and herbs. She educated generations of Chelsea and Carrum school children in healthy eating and self-sufficiency and in the ways of environmental conservation.
Mary Bell loved butterflies and many can be seen flying across the “Chelsea Springtime” artwork. This community artwork hangs in the hallways of Longbeach Place Inc. as a fitting tribute to this quiet Australian and her love of country and its soil.
Excerpts from Mary Bell’s book The Very Best of Mary Bell’s Over the Garden Fence.