Newsletter July 2022

A fabulous display of the terrariums created at the first bilingual succulent terrarium workshop on 250622

Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! during NAIDOC Week

NAIDOC Week 2022

After 2 years of COVID-19 restrictions, finally celebrations of NAIDOC are back. Check out some of the events at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Too often we only remember negative news about Indigenous Australians’ “Death in Custody”. How about spare a moment to watch ABC Archival life of Evonne Goolagong Cawley, the Indigenous woman who won 14 Grand Slams.

Through the Evonne Goolagong Foundation’s ‘Dream, Believe, Learn, Achieve’ program, tennis is used as a vehicle to promote and help provide high quality education to indigenous youth (aged 12 – 21 year) and help them achieve better health through diet and exercise. In a smaller scale, the Community Flower Studio (CFS) also offers ‘Help Me Grow’ traineeship to mentor budding florists.

In the media, you may have heard a lot about the ‘Uluru Statement from the Heart’ leading to the recent Federal Election and during NAIDOC week. Here is an excerpt on ‘Why the statement is needed?’ from ‘From the Heart’.  

Uluru Statement From the Heart (Photo taken on 25 Jan 2018 at Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)

Change is needed because Australia has seen decades of failed policies directed towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;…….These policies have often been formed from good intentions but they have not delivered better outcomes. For example:

  • Nearly one-third of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live below the poverty line.
  • Although Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults make up around 2% of the national population, they constitute 27% of the national prison population
  • Since former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s historic apology to the Stolen Generation in 2008, the number of Indigenous children living in out-of-home care has more than doubled; in the absence of change, this number is expected to more than double again in the next 10 years.

You can find out more about the ‘Uluru Statement’ from this YouTube clip.

First Bilingual Workshop

It was very exciting for me to facilitate the first bilingual Succulent terrarium Workshop on 25th June. It was exactly a year after the last in-person terrarium workshop was held at the same venue – Chatswood Youth Centre. In the promotional flyer, I described it being run in ‘Post-vaccination Style’! While face mask is optional, hand sanitisers and 1.5m distancing are strictly observed. COVID-19 cases are on the rise again!  

Among the participants, there were 2 volunteers from Eastwood Chinese Senior Citizen Club. They joined us to see how mental well-being messages were discussed in the ‘Share Your Journey’ section. For the first time, I facilitated a workshop in English with some Cantonese. A wonderful member, Connie M., acted as interpreter to enhance the communication. A daughter-mother pair ‘found’ us on Facebook and enjoyed a great time creating their unique terrariums side by side. I received this message from the mother:

‘Thank you for Saturday. We had fun and my daughter is very proud of her terrarium.’    

Photos taken at the terrarium workshop on 25th June, 2022

July Pop-up Stall

Due to the recent extreme weather event (see the overspill of the Sydney Warragamba Dam here), the CFS July Pop-up Stall (525 Willoughby Rd, Willoughby) will be postponed to Sat 16th July. We will feature some beautiful Natives to celebrate NAIDOC Week!

ShoreShocked 2022CFS Photo Both

On Sat 6th August, CFS will host a ‘Photo Both’ at the ShoreShocked 2022 Festival (St Leonard’s Park) from 12 noon to 5 pm. Two members of the CFS Youth Subcommittee will help me mind our stall. There will be 2 concurrent activities offered – ‘DIY Your Own Tote Bag’ & ‘DIY Your Flower Crown’. Participants will be able to take photos of their proud creation at our Photo Booth.

In the meantime, please take care. Wear a mask when social distancing cannot be easily maintained.  

How to wear a face mask?

There are many ways to support CFS: become a member or contribute to the columns here. I’m always looking for a great recipe passed down from generation to generation. If you have a story to share, either write a short piece around 250 words or shoot us some photos. If there is a book or a movie you want to write a review, the CFS e-Newsletter will be happy to share with our e-Newsletter subscribers.  Contact Bibi on

If you would like to purchase a DIY Succulent Terrarium Kit for a loved one or a friend as a present, order online here !

Here is a new ‘Succulents in Colour-Sand Glass’ DIY Kit. Available here.


Flower of the Month

by Dr Bibiana Chan



Proteas belong to the family Proteaceae. It was named in 1735 by Carl Linnaeus, after the Greek god Proteus (who could change his form at will. Strictly speaking, Proteas are native to South Africa and not Australia. However, they could have been if you believe this fascinating story stretching back billions of years. When Australia was part of a supercontinent called Gondwana. Part of Gondwana was Africa and it’s on this continent that Proteas developed a huge diversity of shapes, forms and colours. Australia split from the Gondwana landmass and over time produced another branch of the protea family. n 

There are an astounding variety of shapes, sizes, hues and textures to make up more than 1,400 varieties. With its mythological associations to change and transformation, Protea symbolizes diversity and courage. Thus, there are lots of choices when it comes to picking a variety to suit your floral arrangement. All protea flowers share a similar structure of stiff, colourful outer bracts surrounding a central cluster of styles (the female reproductive organ of flowering plants). Proteas flower from autumn to spring with many offering a peak of blooms in winter. They are also bird and insect attracting plants.

White King Protea

Most Proteas grown in Australian gardens are evergreen and frost tolerant. They are usually small to medium-sized shrubs around 1.5 to 2 metres high. All can be kept compact with regular pruning. They prefer soils that are well-drained and acidic and we suggest avoiding heavy clay soils. Best to plant Proteas in autumn or spring, allowing the plant to absorb as much sun as possible. For best results, allow plenty of space between plants for air to circulate.

White Ice – Scaled

Check out this video clip on easy method for growing protea cuttings

For the best time to see Proteas in bloom, visit the Visitor Centre at the Blue Mountain Botanic Garden. Plants can be purchased at their Garden Shop or the Ku-rin-gai Wildflower Garden. 

August Creative Workshop

DIY Your Own Tote Bag Workshopby Bibi & young CFS members. Registrations not required. Just swing by and find the CFS stall!

Date: Sat 6th Aug. 22 Time: 12 noon to 5: 00 pm

Venue: St Leonards Park, Miller Street, North Sydney

Terrariums made my past workshop participants

Partly funded by Willoughby City Council. Send Bibi an email if you have any questions.:

Tall Floral Arrangement featuring Proteas
Natives floral display can be air-dried to last forever
Natives Bouquet
Protea among other Natives
Protea Honey Glow
Protea Susara Bud

Plant of the month

by Dr Bibiana Chan

Finger Lime

Finger Lime Tree

Finger Lime (Citrus Australasica) is a native citrus prized for its unique caviar-like pulp and a variety of colours (yellow, green, pale pink and crimson). Its aboriginal name is Gulalung (Bundjalung). Finger Lime trees were traditionally found in the sub-tropical rainforests of Northern NSW and Queensland, part of the Bundjalung language nation.This tree can grow up to 6m in height, but may be kept small with regular pruning. As a thorny shrub, it provides suitable protection for nesting birds and works well as a hedge. In its natural habitat the finger lime grows as an understorey shrub on a range of soil types.

A finger lime ready for harvest

The fruits, produced in autumn, are finger shaped with aromatic skin. Inside the fruits are filled with small pearls of tangy juice, which have a wonderful texture. The pulp (juice vesicles) of most citrus fruit looks like elongated teardrops, but finger lime’s vesicles are caviar-like in appearance. Each tiny caviar presents a unique lime flavour. That’s how it earns the nickname caviar lime. Its flavour is perfect for seafood, Asian cooking and cocktails.

Caviar-like pulp

Here are some care tips:

  • Suitable for full-sun or part-shade
  • Suitable for pots
  • Tolerates sandy soils
  • Tolerates light frost
  • Attracts birds, bees & insects
Each caviar-like pulp is filled with flavour

How to de-seed fresh finger lime?

How to defrost snap frozen finger limes?

You can find many recipes of Finger Lime on SBS’s Cook up with Adam Liaw and the blogs of an American Town Planner turned Celebrity Chef: LINDSAY-JEAN HARD

To celebrate Naidoc Week, you may like to check out this video clip and ‘Design Your  Own National Dish’ .

Green finger lime caviar (pulp)

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Recipe of the Month

The Chinese Dumplings by Gable Merwick

Most experts believe that dumplings ( ‘餃子’ : gow-gee in Cantonese and jiǎo-zi in Mandarin ) were invented by Zhang Zhongjing, a Chinese herbalist in the Eastern Han Dynasty (206 BC to 220 AD). As legend tells it, it was a cold winter and many residents were experiencing ill-health. Zhongjing took mutton, herbs and chilis. He wrapped them in dough, then steamed them.  These steaming, pillow-like treats helped people overcome the cold weather, while the herbs that Zhongjing put inside worked to improve blood circulation. Nowadays, you can find dumpling variations in nearly every culture—Italian raviolis and Brazilian empanadas are just two examples (adapted from Chef-One)


  • 300 g of pork mince
  • 1/2 tsp of bicarbonate soda
  • 1 tsp of cornflour
  • 1 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • a pinch of white pepper
  • 1 tbsp of rice wine
  • 1 tsp light soya sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 200g Bak-Choy (finely chopped) or other Chinese Cabbage
  • 1 strands of spring onions
  • 2bsp of diced ginger and a clove of garlic
  • 2 packs of dumpling pastry
All the sauces on display


  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and turn in a clockwise direction until well blended.
  2. Place a tsp of the ingredients in the pastry and wrap using push and pull technique. . Using your finger, dip it into water with a little cornflour (or plain water) to make the edges sticky for making the semi-circular dumpling
  3. Place on a plate with the dumplings separate from each other.
  4. Boil water in a wok. Place 10 or so dumplings in. When the water boils again, add a cup of cold water and when the water boils again, the dumplings are ready!

Book Review

by Kim Wilkins

Love Marriage by Monica Ali

Love Marriage by Monica Ali

This is the most recent book by Monica Ali, a very successful British author of Bangladeshi heritage, published this year, 10 years after her initial successful novel, Brick Lane.

It is an often humorous and entertaining account of the engagement of the central character, Yasmin, to Joe. Both are young doctors ( or in Yasmin’s case – trainee doctor) in a London public hospital with Yasmin, from a Muslim Bangladeshi family, and Joe, the sole child of a rich female white progressive author.

The interest is in the various characters- Yasmin’s mother, father and brother and Joe’s eccentric, rich, domineering mother and his psychiatrist.  The author provides an insightful account of the difficulties of even a secular Muslim family integrating into a non-Muslim society.

During the novel the characters develop dramatically and we see the demons from their past lives emerge.

 The author has a number of issues to explore, from the condition of the British hospital system to the relationship between parent and adult children.  She manages to juggle these issues and rotate the various character conflicts with great skill and it is a novel I can highly recommend.

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From the Desk of Bibi

The question ‘Glass is half-full or half-empty?’ is often asked to challenge those who are considered pessimists. I must admit I was a pessimist growing up in Hong Kong. Even at the age of 12, I saw so much social injustice in this world. I wanted to be in a position where I would have the POWER to make changes! Over my life journey, I have grown to become an optimist. Some four decades later, I found ‘The Community Flower Studio’ (CFS) – a Not-for-Profit Social Enterprise to reach out to young people. The CFS vision is to ‘Help Youth Learn Life Skills and Find Meaningful Employment’.

Why do I choose to do this? When I lost 3 good friends (my contemporaries) to ill-health in 2019, I decided it was time to do something more ‘meaningful’! I was working part-time as a CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) for St Vincent de Paul Society’s COMPEER Program and a florist at a high-end Flower Shop. Why didn’t I combine these two part-time jobs into one full-time job? I am now mentoring young people to sell flowers to the public and redirect the net proceeds to run a mental well-being program. The CFS Creative Workshops by Young People for Young People have been well-received since its debut in March 2021. 

In the most recent succulent terrarium workshop, I was able to bring back our pre-COVID-19 format to offer plenty of choices for participants. They could choose the shape of the terrariums – fishbowl, round hanging, or pear-shape. They could also pick their figurines from a huge collection. They could even select the succulent cuttings of various shapes and shades of green! The choices participants made will form the focus of our discussion in the section ‘Share Your Journey’. For example, the relatively larger fishbowl will be easier to decorate. The round vase has the advantage of being hung up high (e.g. on a tree branch in the garden). The Pear-shape vase is the cutest but also with the smallest opening. The choice totally belongs to our participants! There are ‘Pros’ & ‘Cons’ for your choice.

An example of an ocean theme figurines

Friends and young CFS members often pick my brain when they are considering applying for new jobs! Perhaps I have made quite a few big changes in my career. Often, my No.1 advice is – jolt down the pros and cons of the old job and the new job. As objectively as possible, try giving a score to each item on your ‘list’. Some items may have higher loading than others depending on the importance of that item to you. Add up the scores to help you decide. Ultimately, you ‘own’ the choice (which may be subjective. The key is you’ve followed your HEART)!

In Dec 2021 the ‘new’ NSW Premier was keen for the business sector to bounce back after 2 years of COVID-19 public health restrictions. The catch phrase at the time was ‘It is a citizen’s personal responsibility to do the RIGHT thing’. E.g. wear a face mask when social distancing cannot be observed. Get your booster COVID-19 vaccine! I hope you have listened to the medical experts and make a wise choice.

Bibi explained the various shapes of the succulent cuttings

I’d like to hear your stories of making life choices. Drop me a line to I will publish them in the next issue’s ‘Subscriber’s Corner’.      


Creative Workshops by Young People for Young People

By Janet Lau

I have participated in five workshops run by the CFS so far. These workshops are run or co-facilitated by young people to help them develop their leadership skills and self confidence. For example, a young co-facilitator patiently taught the participants how to fold paper cranes in the Mindfulness Origami Workshop. I felt inspired as I noticed her become more confident and self assured as the workshop progressed. When young people are involved with CFS, it is a wonderful opportunity for them to improve their self esteem, learn new skills and be involved in the community.

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

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