CFS Newsletter July 2021

covie-19 safe succulent terrarium workshop on sat 26/06/21

NAIDOC WEEK SPECIAL: A STORY FOR the young and young -at-heart (click here to listen to Monty Pryor’s reading)


Flower of the Month

by Dr Bibiana Chan

Thryptomene (Thryptomene Saxicola) belongs to the Myrtaceae family. This species grows in the granite outcrops and hills in south of Western Australia. Thryptomene is actually from the Greek word meaning coy or prudish.  At first glance, this shrub could appear that way. It has little flowers and it’s a rather modest looking shrub. However, It is highly prized as a cut flower. It has long vase life and I love using it as a filler flower to complement the feature flowers.

Thryp (its nicked name) bears masses of tiny white or pink flowers over a long period of Winter and Spring. The foliage bears an interesting fragrant. It is a compact low growing shrub and will be useful as background shrub or even as a hedge plant. It is very tough and adaptable but needs relatively good drainage. Thryp will tolerate slightly alkaline conditions, but prefer neutral to acidic soils. It can be pruned by occasionally trimming off branches. It will benefit from a big ‘hair cut’ after flowering in Spring. An simple way to do this is simply pick the flowers and enjoy them inside. To keep the plant healthy, add a bit of fertiliser in late Spring to encourage new growth.

Thryptomene calycina is the COUSIN of ‘Thryptomene saxicola’. This species can be found in the Grampians National Park in Western Victoria and South Australia. It is one of my favourite natives. It survives well against droughts and frosts in the colder climate. The Grampian’s Thryp is popular as a cut flower and would be an attractive addition to your native garden.

Grab a bouquet at the National Cousins Day Pop-up Stall this month.



DIY YOUR TOTE BAG Workshopby Hannah & Anthony

Date: Sat 24/7 Time: 1230 – 1430 Venue: Chatswood Youth Centre, 64 Albert St, Chatswood (less than 5 min walk from Chatswood Station)

Free for anyone between 11 yr to 25 yr. CFS members are welcome. Non-members over 25 yrs old pay $20 to cover costs of materials. Send Bibi an email to enquire.

AUTISM MONTH – Wear something BLUE

COUNSINS DAY Pop-up Stall (provided lockdown is lifted)

Date: Sat 17/7 from 0900 – 1500 Outside Little Giant Roaster Café (525 Willoughby Rd, Willoughby.


Plant of the month

by Dr Bibiana Chan

Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora) also belongs to the Myrtaceae family which originates from central to south-eastern Queensland in the sub-tropical rainforests. Thus, it is a cousin to Thryp. It will be a great to plant in your garden with its fluffy white to pale yellow, bee-attracting flowers in summer.  When crushed, they have an amazing citrus fragrance due to the oil, citral, which is present in high concentration and has health benefits.

This native tree is very hardy, it is equally at home in the southern states, if given protection from frosts and cold wind when young.  In its natural habitat, it can grow up to 20 metres. Around Sydney, it grows as a large shrub to 4 – 6 metres high and around Melbourne it will reach 2 – 4 metres. It can also be grown in a large pot – even indoors.

Citral distilled from the leaves has been used in ointments and creams because of its anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties.  It is also used in skincare and haircare products. 

As a bushfood, the most common use of the Lemon Myrtle is for cooking in both savoury and sweet dishes.  It can be used to infuse fish, lamb and other meats, as a flavouring in vegetable dishes in the same way you would use bay leaves, drunk as a tea or, when finely chopped, to flavour ice-cream or yoghurt. You could also use them to olive oil to add a lemon flavour in cooking or salad dressing. Create your own recipe with this Native Lemon Mrytle to celebrate NAIDOC WEEK! Check out the Recipe of the Month for inspiration!

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by Kim Wilkins


This month I am returning to non fiction and my love of Australian history.  I will disclose that I know the author, Ian Burnet, who is a fellow member of the same Rotary club.  Ian has written several books concentrating on the colonial history of the East Indies, now Indonesia and Malaysia. This book concentrates on Dutch exploration and their conquest of this part of the world, now Indonesia, their clashes with the Portugese, Spanish and later the English and their exploration, both accidental  and deliberate, of the west, north and south coasts of Australia.  Ian highlights the clashes between these superpowers of the era, their greed and their cruelty to both  the local inhabitants and each other.

By the middle of the sixteenth century the Dutch were able to produce a rough map of the northern, western and south coasts of Australia and that map, called the Tasman Map, now adorns the entrance to the Mitchell Library in Sydney.

The book details the early history of the Dutch East India company, the first stock company in the world.  The Dutch in particular were traders, after spices and gold, and explains why they lost interest, by about 1650 in further exploration or in settlement of this country. The book is an easy read, some 200 pages long, and is well illustrated with early maps.  I wold recommend it not only to history buffs but also to those who want to know more about this country’s history and that of our northern neighbours.



Grandma’s lemon Myrtle Biscuits

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes
Challenge: easy


200g margarine (I prefer to use butter)
100g sugar
100g macadamia nuts (almonds can be used)
225g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon lemon myrtle (crushed leaves)


Cream margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add nuts, lemon myrtle, baking powder and flour.
Form little balls (teaspoon sized) and press them flat with a fork.
Pre-heat oven to 00° C. Bake until light brown, approximately 12 minutes.

Recipe originally from

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Riding on top of the waves – breaking down barriers to accessing mental health services.

The first Harmony Day was launched in 1999 by the then NSW MP Dr. Peter Wong. This was an initiative in respond to Pauline Hanson’s 1996 maiden speech at Parliament describing how Australia being ‘swamped’ by Asians.  According to the 2016 Census, nearly half (49 per cent) of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was. Mandarin came first as the most spoken language other than English.  Eighty-five per cent of Australians agree multiculturalism has been good for Australia (check out the Australian Bureau of Statistics website for more details).

From the Desk of Bibi


I hope those of you facing reduced freedom to move around are still keeping well. Exactly 12 months ago, CFS held an ‘Out of Hibernation’ gathering to celebrate regaining our liberty after 3 months of COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown!

Over the years, I have learnt to cultivate a ‘growth mindset’. Growth is one of the foundational values of CFS and referenced in our logo. A growth mindset means always trying to reflect on the ‘lessons learnt from a situation, mistake or time of adversity, instead of focusing on loss or negatives’. For me, one silver lining to living through the changes, restrictions, loss and fears of this once-in-a-century pandemic is that everyone is talking about their mental health. The World Health Organisation defines health as a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Our monthly CFS newsletter has been co-produced since May 2020 – this is the 15th issue. If you are looking for some well-being tips, consider checking out some back issues and the ‘Stress-less’ postcards at the bottom of this page. We always love hearing about other peoples’ well-being tips – if you have something to share, please get in touch!

Since Dec 2019 – when COVID-19 was first reported in Wuhan, China – there has been a significant amount of research about the origins, nature and best treatment of the virus. Alongside the medical approach, public health researchers have also focused on the social and emotional impacts of the pandemic, both collectively and individually. The forecast is an increase in mental health issues across all age groups, but a significant drop in wellbeing in young people. It appears that for young people in particular, losing access to casual employment opportunities has a negative impact on their mental health. A new study* surveyed more than 1000 young Australians and reported that the pandemic has been linked with widespread mental illness in a sample of young people aged 18-24 years.

Young people … who had secure employment, such as permanent positions, had the best mental health. Those in less secure employment, like casual workers, had the worst mental health. This is concerning for young people globally because they are more likely to be in precarious employment.”

*Oswald TK, Rumbold AR, Kedzior SGE, Kohler M, Moore VM. Mental Health of Young Australians during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Exploring the Roles of Employment Precarity, Screen Time, and Contact with Nature. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(11):5630.

Results from this study highlight “that young adults require dedicated mental health services to deal with current burden, but should also be supported through a range of preventive strategies which target mental health risk factors, like precarious employment, and enhance protective factors, such as urban green infrastructure.”

This is why CFS is striving to provide pre-apprentice opportunities for young people, and to offer real world experience, connection and skills. We want to focus on how young people can flourish and grow in this new climate in which we find ourselves.

While many people are now experiencing social isolation and loneliness (“we’re all in this together!”), we must remember that social withdrawal is also a feature of clinical depression. It is so important to understand the signs and symptoms of when a low mood may have developed into something more serious. I myself know too well how social withdrawal impacts my wellbeing and – along with other features – often signals that my mental health is starting to deteriorate. When I start to notice this, I have learnt to intervene early and put my recovery and wellbeing plan in place. This is why CFS advocates for the whole community to play a part in supporting young people facing mental health challenges.

How could you help? Giant ‘ASK RUOK?’ posters can be seen on bus stops everywhere in Metropolitan Sydney. Perhaps if you see a person looking a little sad or lost, you may ASK ‘RUOK?’   



Why I volunteer at the CFS’ Pop-Up Stall? By Carol Sudul

The answer to this question is: not only because it is for a good cause and to support my dear friend Bibi, but it is also to witness the happy interactions with our community. As they buy flowers for their love ones or to brighten up their life for themselves, I share their joy!

I love hearing the stories of who the flowers our customers are purchasing for. Today a young lady was looking at our best-seller ‘Rosie Posies’ to take to her boyfriend’s mother. It would be their first meeting.  I totally agreed with her that you couldn’t go empty handed. A fresh bunch of flowers would just be perfect.  She wanted it to be a special bouquet that her boyfriend’s mother would love. Thus, her boyfriend rang his sister to find out what their mother would like. 

 I said to him, “Better still, why not take some photos and get your sister to pick the one she feels most suitable!’

That was exactly how a decision was finally made.  Each bouquet of flowers or succulent terrarium at our Pop-up Stall is unique, no two are the same.

Thus, I often tell customers, “Look at them closely and choose the one that suits you the best!’

I would like to give a big thank you to our new customers, our regular customers, as well as our neighbours who buy from the Community Flower Studio.  I also would like to say a big thank you to the ones who read about CFS on ‘Willoughby Living’ (Facebook Group) and come to support our cause.  Just like this gentleman today who knew CFS was for a good cause and wanted to spend around $20. I showed him a cute little bunch of sweet yellow daffodils with a Zanadu leaf for just $10. He bought a bunch and donated another $5. Many of our customers are happy to put in the extra dollars to support CFS. I would like you all to know your kindness doesn’t go unnoticed. THANK YOU!


Latest Floristry Trends – A dialogue with our Junior Florist Jasmine

Jasmine started a paid work experience with CFS since March 2021. I had an interesting conversation with her about a Church Altar Floral Arrangement she arranged (image on the right). I noticed that her design was the exact ‘upside down’ version of the ‘traditional symmetric arrangement’ (image on the left) I learnt when I was a Floristry student a while ago. Instead of an upright isosceles triangle (with 2 equal sides longer than the bottom side), Jasmine created an upside down isosceles triangle presented as a ‘flatback’ bouquet in a pink palette. She chose a couple of open pink Oriental Lilies as the focal flowers at the base, complemented by pink roses with a pale green tint. The hot-pink Gerbera blooms enriched the colours of the presentation. The Baby’s Breath with the tiny white flowers (now in season), provided a great balance to the pink tone. The tall native Gymea leaves added the height and vigor to the bouquet. I told Jasmine that I really LIKED her design. Young minds are ‘brave’ to break away from ‘traditions’ and I am so glad to have this dialogue with Jasmine! How wonderful for this modern breakthrough floral arrangement standing tall in full blooms at the presentation on how StreetWork’s services be able to ‘TURN YOUNG LIVES AROUND’!

Community Flower Studio Logo Explained

Community: CFS is a community to support young people facing mental health challenges.

Creative: CFS hosts events to unleash young people s creative talents.

Resource: CFS provides members with resources to enhance their wellbeing.  

Support: CFS  offers support to members to develop their potential.

Growth: CFS fosters a growth mindset which is helpful in dealing with challenges.

Recovery: CFS sees recovery as achievable and a journey to cherish.



Website: Mobile: 0412 613 073

Like us on Facebook:Community Flower Studio Inc. Instagram: communityflowerstudio

Address: 10-12 Clanwilliam St., Willoughby, 2068, NSW, Australia.