Newsletter March 2023

Harmony Day

To celebrate Harmony Day/Week, let’s check your knowledge about the National Flowers of the Top 20 Countries of Origin of the migrants to Australia (based on ABS 2021 data). Answers will be revealed on Harmony Day, 21 March – UN’s International Day of Elimination of Racial Elimination!

Try the National Flower Quiz!

Brekkie at Project 107, South Eveleigh


Sat 11 March – Harmony Day Pop-Up Stall outside Little Giant Roaster Café (9 am to 1 pm) Succulent Terrariums, Succulents in fishbowls, DIY Kits (Succulent Terrariums and Colour-Sand Glass).

Sun 19 March Bushwalk of the Month – Community Flower Studio

Sat 15 April – Acrylic Pouring Workshop at Chatswood Youth Centre

Reflections on past events!

The Pop-up Stall for Sustainable Valentine’s Day Gifts on 11 Feb was a hot day. Nonetheless, we launched the ‘Petal-it-Forward: Put a Smile on Someone’s Face’ Campaign as a ‘Return & Earn’ Charity Partner. We invite customers to donate their 10 cents refund (for each bottle or can) from Return & Earn (R&E) to the CFS ‘Petal-it-Forward’ campaign. You can download the R&E App and find CFS by typing in ‘Petal-it-Forward’ in the search for charities tap. Every ‘10’ cents count!

The FAME (Floral Arrangements Made Easy) Workshop returned to Chatswood Youth Centre (CYC) on Sat 25 Feb. after a sellout session last Spring. We were locked out of CYC, Bibi set up a pop-up workshop at the adjacent carpark with 3 folding tables. This became a great test on everyone’s patience (waiting for the caretaker to open up); adaptability (utilizing the exciting resource to the full potential) and resilience (flourishing in tough circumstances). In the end, every participant brought home 2 beautiful floral arrangements!

BBQ Brekkie at South Eveleigh was hosted by Project 107 to introduce members of SECNA (Social Enterprise Council NSW & ACT) to a new community hub. Bibi and Kim went along and took part in a ‘Creative Workshop’. One of the goals was to experience the mental health benefits of creating art! It was great for Bibi to relax and enjoy a great workshop. It also focused on connecting people at a deeper level. Participants were asked to pair up and the drew a portrait of your partner.

A meeting with Hon. Kylea Tink on Climate Action on 20 Feb. McKayla (a member of the CFS Youth Action Group) and Bibi met Hon. Kylea Tink, the Federal MP for North Sydney at her office. We had a great discussion on the urgency of Climate Actions, the attitudes of the Australia Parliament on this topic and sharing concerns about youth mental health. McKayla (Yr 11 student) is currenting doing a subject on ‘Global Politics’. Kylea offered to connect her with other colleagues. We gave Kylea a ‘Coloured-Sand Glass’ (created by our young members) to say thank you.         

If you would like to order a DIY Succulent Terrarium, Colour-Sand Glass or Flower Crown Kitsfor Lunar New Year, check out the CFS online Shop.

The Petal-it-Forward Campaign is proudly sponsored by generous donations from Return & Earn Scheme and supporters. Donations to CFS are tax deductible. Donate – Community Flower Studio

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 !

This is a ‘Succulents in Colour-Sand Glass’ DIY Kit which comes with a youth-approved instruction sheet and a QR code to the YouTube clip of previous workshops. Available here.

Here is a new DIY kit – Flower Crown

Flower Crown DIY Kit

Flower of the Month

By Dr Bibiana Chan

Pineapple Lilies

Pineapple Lily (Eucomis spp.) is a bulbous perennial. It is part of the Liliaceae family and is native to South Africa. A bundle of short leaves located on the top of the flowering stem followed by many 6-pointed star shaped flowers that open from bottom up. This gives the flowers the ‘Pineapple look’.  

Starting in Spring the fleshy long strappy leaves will begin to emerge from dormancy. Come mid to late Summer the flower stems will push up and their unusual but attractive flowers appear.

The flower colours, depending on the variety, are shades of green, pink, white and burgundy. Pineapple Lilies are very hardy plants that will thrive in full sun to part-shade with rich, well-drained soil. The bulbs will go dormant in Winter.

Pineapple Lilies are low maintenance and long lived. Pineapple Lilies make brilliant long lasting cut flowers. Their vase life can be stretched to 6 weeks if being cared for (change water every 2nd day and cut 1 cm off the tip at a 45-degree angle). The Dwarf version is about 20-40cm tall and 20-30cm wide whereas normal height and width are 70cm and 40-60cm respectively.

After 4 weeks in a vase, the flowers are still looking great!

Always remove spent flowers but let the foliage stay as they store energy for the next season. Wait for the foliage to die back before lifting the bulbs. Store in a cool dry and airy position before replanting in Spring.

Don’t you know the beautiful Pineapple Lilies’ ‘Countries of Origin’ are South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Malawi.  Species can be found in grassland, forest, swamps and on river banks. The dwarf species are more often found at higher elevations, on hilltops or other exposed places. It needs greenhouse cultivation in regions like Britain.

Seeds are growing in the spadix.

Here is an example of treating ‘exotic’ flowers as guests. A gardener shares some tips on planting Pineapple Lilies in Oklahoma (South Central Region of USA with humid subtropical climate in the East). This will definitely add a tropical look to your garden. The flower buds really resemble pineapples. 

In the following clip ‘How to Plant Eucomis (Pineapple Lily)?‘, an expert from J Parker at Manchester, UK, reassured you that “These exotic looking plants are surprisingly easy to grow with some help from Jeff!”

Plant of the month

by Dr Bibiana Chan

Australian Tree Fern

Tree fern, (Dicksonia Antarctica) is a primitive fern characterized by ascending trunk-like stems and tree-like habit.

Tree ferns are commonly found in humid tropical forests. a single slender trunk covered in ginger-brown hairs. The fronds (large and divided leaves) are bright green with triangular lacy leaves; they remain green in Autumn and Winter. Ferns do not bear flowers or fruit. 

Tree ferns are true ferns, they never flower or produce seeds. They reproduce from spores that grow on the undersides of the fronds or from offsets.

By Roger Culos – Own work, CC BY-SA

The trunks of tree ferns are composed of rhizomes (running stems) modified to grow vertically and embedded in a dense mantle of adventitious roots. These trunks may reach heights of 25 m or more in some species.

Tree Fern Care – Planting Dicksonia antarctica

This YouTube clip, created in Feb 2023, shows how to plant and grow Dicksonia Antarctica. I found it fascinating to learn how the top living portion will continue to sprout fronds and the trunk will sprout new roots into the ground to stabilise it. Check out the first 3 minutes of the clip and skim through the remaining one. You will be amazed!  

Tree Fern Care – Planting Dicksonia Antarctica

The large Aussie Tasmanian Tree Ferns are in high demand in the UK, according to the staff at Provender Nurseries in Swanley, UK.  Watch this YouTube clip ‘Spotlight on Tree Ferns’ on how to look after these exotic ‘giant guests’ to their new home.

While researching for this column, I couldn’t help thinking, “Could we treat migrants ‘uprooted from their country of origin’ as ‘our guests’ and try our best to make them feel welcomed to their new home?    

By L. Curtis

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Recipe of the Month

BBQ Pork Bun by Auntie Mag (Vancouver)


Sugar 30 g;

Water 90 ml;

Oyster sauce 1/2 Tab Spoon;

Light Soya sauce 1 Tab Spoon;

Dark soya sauce 1 Tab Spoon

Mix the sauce.

15 g corn starch mix with 30 ml of water for use later. Heat 1 1/2 Tab Spoon oil, add diced green onion, add sauce, stir until boiled.  Add starch water, mix to form a paste.

 Add diced BBQ pork.  Leave the stuffing to cool down


Water 225 ml + 2 Tab unsweetened condensed milk, warm up to 26 to 32 C.

Yeast 2 tsp

Sugar 85 g 

Melted margarine 60 g

Egg 1  

Flour 3 1/4 cups

Mix all the ingredients and knead to form a smooth dough and place in a bowl

Wrap up the bowl with saran wrap.

Turn oven to 200 C for exactly 30 seconds. Turn off the oven. Leave the dough inside for 2 hours. Bring out the dough, knead and fold. Leave in a warm place for 20 minutes.

Bring it out, knead and fold. Divide the dough into 12 portions. Put the cooled stuffing in. Brush the bun surface with egg. Heat up the oven 176C , bake the buns for 15 minutes until cooked

Book Review

by Kim Wilkins

BOOK REVIEW- The Lessons by John Purcell

John Purcell is an Australian author living in England and has written several successful books, such as The Girl on the Page. This is his most recent novel, published in 2022 It is a complicated love story involving 4 characters- Harry, Daisy, Jane, and Simon who each get turns in narrating the story. Harry, Simon, Daisy and Jane were involved in a so-called ‘love rectangle’ rather than a love triangle. It is set in the 1960s in England and is complicated further by having Jane, who becomes a famous author, looking back in the 1980s on the history, as she has used the events in her own novels.

There are regular sex scenes every 20 or 30 pages which becomes a bit tedious. It is Mills and Boon with sex. It is not for the kiddies. The novel is 370 pages and could have been shorter, as it meanders along in parts.

We start with a love affair between two teenagers, Harry, an uneducated farmer, and Daisy, who is a different class, in a manner which is not particularly original. Some people will like this book, but not me. I found the characters unlikeable, the plot repetitive and the ending unconvincing.

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From the Desk of RABiA Khan (Founder of Data Action Impact)

What good will I do this year?

Bibi reunited with Rabia at last year’s SECNA Christmas Meetup. We have a mutual friend, residing in Auckland, NZ, whom organised a Yum-Cha lunch with us in Sydney more than a decade ago! Bibi invited Rabia to share her thoughts with the readers.

The beginning of a new school year can be both exciting and demanding as you settle back into routines and start thinking of your subjects, when assignments are due, what activities are you ging to sign up for, etc etc.

When we are thinking of our #best year ever, almost all of it is focussed on ourselves- get better grades, get my driver’s license, spend less time on social media, post three times on TikTok and the list goes on.

It got me thinking why we don’t intentionally plan for the good or the impact we will have this year either through our school activities or our volunteering, let’s call it “work”.

This is a great activity to do – planning the good I will do this year.  I do it each year and it really helps me ‘connect the dots’ between what I will do and produce (and what others will do and produce) to make the difference I want to make in the world – my impact.

My three-step process is

1. What is the problem I am trying to solve?

I find it helpful to restate the problem I am passionate about in terms of ensuring it is specific, the scale, why the problem exists and why does it matter. For instance, I am passionate about climate change broadly but that’s not enough to take action. I need to be more specific in terms of which bits of climate change I can actively work on. Perhaps it’s my carbon footprint so how can I reduce my own carbon footprint, either by walking more or taking public transport.

2. Who am I working with and need to work with?

Who can I encourage and work with?  I can encourage friends and family to reduce theirs by walking more and using public transport. Think of others I already know in school, community, sports team and see if they are interested in working with me to reduce the area’s carbon footprint. I can find organisations, community groups and individuals that are already working in this space as this is a good opportunity to connect with them. They might have a youth group and if not volunteer to start one for them.

3. How will my work have a positive impact in the world?

What is the outcome you are looking for? What is the future you want to create. If you are successful, what will that look like? Who will benefit? How will they benefit?

For example, encouraging people to swap short car drives to walking, cycling or public transport   leads to less carbon emissions which in the long run slows climate change.

Think of what would make this year meaningful and the actions you need to take and the people you need to connect with to make it happen.

What good do you want to do this year?


An Amazing Floral Arrangement tale!

By Janet Lau

I have an amusing story about a recent family attempt at a floral arrangement. My youngest daughter invited my eldest daughter and I to shop for bouquets for her friend’s graduation.

She was on a budget and had time constraints, so we rushed to the closest supermarket and bought two bouquets. Then we bought some wrapping paper as well. We found a random table in the nearest food court to arrange the flowers🤣. My eldest daughter was delegated the important task of arranging the two bouquets into one (using the rotation method), while my youngest and I observed and tried to give “constructive” advice. Alas, we struggled to wrap the bouquet in a presentable way.

Unsurprisingly, I completely forgot the wrapping technique that I was taught in the FAME class. The end product wasn’t too bad, though there was definitely room for improvement. Each time I think about this incident, I can’t help but laugh as it was so very ridiculous – she only saved $5 in the end after all that effort!!! 🤣🤣🤣

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.



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