I was driving past the Millgrove Fire Station today and I noticed local volunteer Mick mowing the lawns so I dropped by to have a chat to him about the beautiful gardens he has created in Millgrove for everyone to enjoy.
For anyone who has driven through Millgrove in the last few years you would have noticed how much the gardens have improved at the BBQ area. It is all thanks to a wonderful local volunteer called Mick Corrie.
Mick has lived in Millgrove for 33 years and bought his house 16 years ago. He loves Millgrove but was sick of seeing all the mess around the area so around 14 years ago Mick and his 4 children started cleaning up the grass area near Prices rd for something to do. “The kids enjoyed cleaning up as they where real community minded kids” Mick said.
There was a lot of washing machines, beds and general waste that had been there for years and years. They initially started clearing the area by taking loads full of rubbish down to the local tip. They also slashed all the blackberries that were totally over grown as well. Then they got hold of a excavator and leveled the area as it was full of tyre marks from the SES trucks and mounds of dirt.
In 2009 Mick was chatting to Maureen at the local news agency in Millgrove about the grass and Mick said “if we can get hold of a mower I will mow it”. They contacted Tammy Labado who was the local member of parliament at the time and she was kind enough to give Mick and Maureen a grant to buy the first mower which they purchased in 2009.
Mick and Maureen both belong to a local community group called Millgrove Residents Action Group. The main objectives of the local group is to help identify and address community needs and concerns. One of those needs they felt was to improve the area around the fire station.
The group helped Mick get grants for two new mowers 2 years ago. They were kindly donated by Bendigo Bank. Mick uses one to mow the lawns at Millgrove and a gentleman called Robert Bedgegood who mows local lawns from Yarra junction through to the Launching Place shops uses the other.
Mick initially was doing all the mowing but decided it would be a great idea to start making some garden beds to further improve the area. The first plants he planted were the three Lipstick Maples that you can see as you drive along the Warby highway. The first garden bed he created was the bright and colourful one that is placed around the traffic lights. It is always full of beautiful flowers.
Mick grows a lot of the plants himself from cuttings. He will purchase one plant from Bunnings and then take cuttings from it. From those cuttings he produces many more plants to spread throughout the garden beds. All the carpet roses and geraniums you see, Mick grows from cuttings himself.
Alot of the plants have been donated from members of the community too. The Love Lillies around all three Lipstick Maples were donated by Margo from Woori Yollock who he met while driving buses. The Day Lillies were donated by a local policeman’s wife.
All the bulbs have been donated by a couple of bulb growers up in Silvan. Mick went and had a chat to them and they were kind enough to donate a few thousand bulbs for the local garden. Mick is proud to say there are now around 3500 daffodil bulbs in the garden. He was also gifted a few trays of prize dahlias a few years ago but unfortunately they were stolen .
All the fox gloves, snapdragons and poppies all self sow each year. The fox gloves that pop up in the gardens have an interesting history behind them. Mick use to work at the O’Shannassy Dam years and years ago. In 1956 the Queen stayed at the O’Shannassy Dam as part of her visit for the Olympic Games held in Melbourne. Many foxgloves were planted at the O’Shanassy Dam for her visit as they were considered a very English plant. Mick manged to get some of the original seeds that came from the foxgloves that were planted for the queen and now they are growing in the gardens at Millgrove.
The natives that are planted around the fire station were all donated from a place in Melbourne. All the beds are made from mulch and manure which is donated locally as well. “People just pop by and donated plants for the gardens” Mick said.
“People often stop by and take photos and enjoy the gardens” Mick said. I know myself that I always admire all the beautiful plants and flowers as I drive past on the way to dropping the kids off at school as I am sure many of you do.
Mick spends a lot of time in summer watering all the plants. “I often come down at 2am in the morning to water and weed as it is just so peaceful” Mick said. He loves gardening and has always been a gardener. He loves creating garden beds and gets a lot of enjoyment seeing the plants grow. Mick enjoys looking after the gardens as it is relaxing to him and he enjoys the exercise after sitting all week driving buses.
Mick has brought so much love to the town of Millgrove through his love of gardening. He enjoys people dropping by and acknowledging the effort he puts into the gardens. People also drop by and do a swap with Mick for cutting and plants which he is more than happy to do. He loves to share plants with the community.
Unfortunately 4 weeks ago on a Sunday night someone stole 15 red geraniums from the garden bed near the traffic lights. Mick puts so much love and effort into the gardens and to see it destroyed makes Mick upset. “It is really disappointing as I am happy to give people plants that he has grown instead if they just ask” Mick said. Mick is a very gentle and kind man and you really get a sense of his love of gardening and community when you chat to him.
When Mick is not looking after the gardens at Millgrove he is a bus driver for Martyrs Bus company. He drives the Warburton to Chirnside route. Mick loves driving up and down the Warburton highway chatting to everyone. He has been working at Martyrs for 11 years but feels he has never worked a day there because he loves what he does so much that it doesn’t feel like work to him.
Mick loves Millgrove and plans to stay in there for the rest of his life. It was clear when talking to Mick that he just loves life and enjoys everything he does and you can see that by what he has created in Millgrove for us all to enjoy.
Mick really is a local treasure and we are all very grateful for the hard work and effort he has put into beautifying the Millgrove area. Mick spends 10-15 hours a week of his own time and should be recognised and celebrated for his local community work. Thank you Mick you are a lovely man and a local legend.