Newsletter April 2023

NSW Youth Week


The theme for NSW Youth Week (20 – 30 April 2023) is CONNECT. PARTICIPATE. CELEBRATE. CFS has lined up a few events to connect our members and young people in the community (see What’s On below). Check out other activities here.

Harmony Week Pop-up Stall

Andrew (left), Bibi (centre) and Ben (right) at the Harmony Week Pop-up Stall


Climate Action Art Competition

to raise awareness of urgent climate actions needed. Young people (aged 10 – 25 yr ) are welcome. Click here to enter.

One-On-One & Small Group CFS Youth Mentoring Program

at Social Enterprise Community Hub (Level 1, 2 Davy Rd, South Eveleigh) on Thursdays (10 – 4 pm) from 13 April. Booking essential. Enquiry: 

Sat 8 AprilEaster 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).

Sat 15 AprilAcrylic Pouring Workshop at Chatswood Youth Centre

Tues ANZAC Day (25 April)

Bushwalk of the April – Flat Rock Gully Walk. For those of you who prefer to just join us for a picnic, meet at Tunks Park at 12:30 pm. Bring a plate to share.

Sat 22 April Bunnings BBQ at Chatswood

(Corner Gibbes & Smith Streets). Come and support our first fundraising event.

Sat 27 May Social Enterprise Festival at UTS

Book your FREE tickets here.

Reflections on past events!

1.      Harmony Week Pop-up Stall Ben K., a Year 9 student from Oaklands College, started his first shift at the Harmony Week Pop-up Stall as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Award Program. He role-played with Andrew G., a Year 9 student at Chatswood High, on the ‘script’ on describing CFS to the customers – ‘What is a social enterprise? What is CFS’ vision? How are the funds raised by selling flowers used?’ I told Ben to ‘improvise’ and use his own words. The script was a guide. I think there were enough customers and interests to keep Andrew and Ben busy! We gave out a total of 12 ‘Petal-it-Forward’ floral arrangements.   

2.      Floral Arrangements for an event by another Social Enterprise – Goods4Good. I met Nandeeta a while ago at a SECNA (Social Enterprise Council NSW & ACT) event. She attended a recent Valentine’s Day Lunch organised by a social enterprise Welcome Merchant. She enjoyed the floral arrangements supplied by CFS. Thus, she also ordered some for her own event. The only brief from her was ‘to provide seasonal floral arrangements that match my dress’ colour theme.’ Wasn’t this a great ripple effect!      

3.      The 1st CFS Bushwalk of the Month was held on Sun 19 March! Who would have thought that was the hottest day (36°C) in March for many decades? Sixteen hikers enjoyed the scenery along half of the track. We escaped the heat to air-conditioned restaurants in Chatswood. This is another example of adaptability.

Six of the Sixteen hikers on the 1st CFS Bushwalk of the Month (19/3)

4.      CFS collaborated with Sahara Services for the first time and hosted a Succulent Terrarium Workshop at their Hornsby Headquarter. It was a great success just by looking at the big smiles on participants’ faces! Four senses out of five were utilized in creating the terrariums – hearing, vision, touch and smelt. 

Download the Return & Earn App onto your phone and nominate ‘Petal-it-Forward’ as the charity campaign for your refund to go. An anonymous sponsor will match the amount donated, so your contribution will be doubled!

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


Rare Tri-colour Single and double Zinnia blooms

Zinnia (Zinnia elegansZinnia haageanaZinnia peruvianaZinnia grandiflora)  belongs to the family Asteraceae, native to dry grassland stretched across the Southwestern USA to South America. Zinnia has long stem with 12 petal flowers that come in a wide range of colours.

Harmon Week Floral Arrangement

Dr. Johann Zinn, a German botanist, first wrote about this new plant and was therefore honored by being its namesake. The Zinnia elegans species most widely grown today arrived in Europe in 1796.

A Rose-Zinnia Posy for a recent event.

Zinnias are easy to grow, their petals can take different forms as single row with a visible center (Single), numerous rows with a center that is not visible (Double) and petals that are somewhere in-between with numerous rows but visible centers (Semi double).

Much like daisies, zinnias prefer full sunlight and adequate water. It benefits from deadheading to encourage further blooming. The show usually starts in late spring until late autumn. Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to the blooms in nearly every imaginable bright colour. Zinnia is a great choice for first-time flower growers. Use a controlled-release fertiliser when planting, then liquid fertiliser every two weeks to promote further blooms.

Single-flower White Zinnia flower,

Watch this amazing video clip showing Zinnias growing from seed to blooms (70 Day’s time lapse).

Common Zinnia Flower Colors and their Meaning & Symbolism

  • Green: Growth, wealth, money, success, and new starts.
  • Yellow: Joyfulness, energy, youthfulness, friendship, and support.
  • White: Purity, healing, recovery, peace, and elegance.
  • Orange: Power, energy, success, drive, ambition, and family bonds.
  • Red: Romantic love, passion, health, success, and good health.
  • Pink: Happiness, gentleness, grace, gentleness, and non-romantic love.
  • Purple: Elegance, royalty, wealth, success, and commitment.
butterfly on zinnia flower in garden under sunshine

I will definitely give Zinnia seeds a go! What about you?

Plant of the month

by Remi H.

Maidenhair Fern

Native to North America, the maidenhair fern sure has a unique look! It has both indoor and outdoor varieties, the most common one in Australia being Adiantum aethiopicum, which are very resilient and can be grown in a cool and shady spot in your garden!

Maidenhair Fern in CFS Nursery

Alternatively, you can also grow it on a hanging pot, as it will add a refreshing touch to wherever you put it! The green, fan shaped leave segments contrast the dark and shiny stems wonderfully. As a matter of fact, the black stems are used in many Native American baskets as decoration!

By Roger Culos – Own work, CC BY-SA

They have palm shaped leaves with three to eight fingers each. In the wild, they typically grow on rock walls and between rock fissures so they get plenty of moisture.

Hidden away in a sewerage drainage in CBD Chatswood, NSW.

Found along waterfalls and stream banks, the maidenhair fern loves humidity and damp places, so it would like multiple water sources such as moist soil and regular watering!

Maidenhair fern spotted on CFS’ bushwalk (photo by Janet L.)

The maidenhair fern loves water, so keep it constantly moist at all times! It would be best to keep a tray under the pot, and water the soil when you see it starting to dry. In the wild, maidenhair ferns are covered by tree canopies due to its short height, so avoid harsh light when growing the plant, as the leaves will burn up. Best to give them indirect morning sun as it loves warm, humid air. Its optimal temperature is around 21°C (70°F).

This maidenhair fern found along the Manly -Spit Walking Track

It’s common for the maidenhair fern to have dead leaves occasionally, but new leaves will unfurl every year. Maidenhair ferns are slow-growing ferns, taking up to 3 years to reach its mature size, which is typically around 30 – 60 cm tall and wide.

This plant thrives in a North Shore suburban garden.

Many first-time gardeners are discouraged to grow maidenhair fern, here are two YouTube clips to help you rehink!

More tips on dividing the fern and spores at the back of the leaves are shown in this video clip.

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Book Review

By Bibi

The Matchmaker by Saman Shad

I attended an ‘Author’s Talk’ at Chatswood library in Feb to hear the stories of the making of ‘The Matchmaker’. Saman told the audience her three previous failed attempts to publish. Her perseverance has finally paid off. The Matchmaker falls into the genre of ‘Rom-Com’ – romantic comedy.

‘Why Rom-Con?’ Shaman explained the romantic genre always brings ‘warmth’ to the majority of female readers and ‘comedy’ is in high demand especially after what everyone has gone through during COVID. The 311 pages were loaded with humour. Her background as a screenwriter brought her characters to life with ‘dynamic’ dialogues.

It is important to be able to laugh at yourself and your culture – gossips that spread like wind, societal expectations on when one should settle down and start a family; the obsession on matching class/cast/socioeconomic status or 門當戶對 (Moon-dong-woo-duen), a Chinese idiom. I could definitely see the parallels between the Desi community and the Chinese.

In this Internet era, dating apps take over as the ‘Digital Matchmaker’! It is not without risks though. I could see a market for tailor-made matchmaking services described in this book. Saman is very eloquent in her use of words. I felt the warmth when the pages took me to familiar Sydney suburbs (Auburn, Darling Harbour, Glebe, Milson Point, Parramatta etc.) her characters met for their dates. If you are not a Sydneysider, you may like to explore the beauty of this vibrant multicultural city yourself.

One taboo subject (viewed by the Desi and Chinese communities) was spelt out squarely through the tales of one of her characters. Mental ill-health is more common than you think. It is particularly prevalent among young people after the pandemic. I really appreciate how realistic the author ‘painted’ the struggles faced by her characters. In another storyline, she subtly described the ‘surprise’ benefits of seeing a psychologist.

At the end of the talk, Saman shared the good news of a film contract for her debut novel. I look forward to watching ‘The Matchmaker’ in the cinema, after Joy Luck Club, Looking for Alibrandy and Crazy Rich Asians.    

Recipe of the Month

Bulgarian Easter Eggs by Dani Krastev

Chocolate-free Easter Eggs – Bulgarian style

Just boil a dozen eggs and use special Easter eggs dyes which can be purchased from the deli shops. As a general guide, boil the eggs for about 10 – 12 minutes (start timing after the water is boiling). Turn down the heat.  

Food colouring for Easter eggs

Watch this video brought to you by ‘Foreigner.BG.

People in Bulgaria do spend a lot of time dyeing the eggs and making them pretty when celebrating the Orthodox Easter. It’s usually a week after the Catholic one. Some photos were taken in 2021 at home. It was fun tapping each other’s eggs, and then we peeled and ate them!

Some photos were from last year (2022) when we visited Bulgaria. Ben did the eggs with his grandma. We celebrated Easter together. 

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From the Desk of Bibi

NSW Women’s Contribution Award

I felt very honoured and humbled to be awarded the 2023 NSW Women’s Contribution Award in the category of supporting women’s health by Resilience Together Association. This award was set up to recognize contribution of women in CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) Communities. Connie a good friend from my overseas student era, who is now an active CFS member once suggested to nominate me for ‘Australian of the Year’! I laughed and thanked her for believing in me. Shortly after that conversation, I read about a 2021 UNSW Mental Health Prize awarded by the Department of Psychiatry, UNSW. I called Connie and said, “Perhaps we could give this a go!’ We answered all the questions – research impact, national and international and national contribution. I was able to ‘secure’ five supporting letters from the then Mayor of Willoughby City Council, the Professor at Yale University who invited me to join his research team as my post-doc study; the President of Eastwood Chinese Senior Citizen Club … All I was thinking at the time was to reach the finalists. I was by no means to ‘taste the glamour’, but just wished to draw awareness of how challenging it was to advocate for better mental health services in community with English as a 2nd language (non-English speaking carries negative connotation). When I found out later that of the 6 finalists shortlisted, none was from CALD background, it was totally non-representative of the 51% of Australians who were either born overseas or have at least one parent born overseas (ABS Census 2021).  Earlier this year, I heard about this NSW Women’s Contribution Award. I called Connie once again and said, ‘Let’s try again!’. ‘

Sherman & Janet (left), Bibi and Connie (right)

It was a nice surprise that my name was announced as a co-winner. I truly believed every finalist is as deserving as me to the award. I was humbled by all the great work all these women tirelessly advocating for what they believe is the right thing to do. Not for their own good but for the building a community for the common good. I hope this award would help take CFS to the next level and reach out to the multicultural society.  I would like to thank the CFS Committee and our members to help CFS gain its charity status. I would like to share this honour with all of you.                 


Electric Vehicles by Ben K.

(Ben is a Year 9 student currently volunteering for CFS as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award)


Dear convention delegates, ladies and gentlemen, youth ambassadors and fellow teenagers, we are all gathered here to celebrate Earth Day. We all have a passion about our planet, environment and we would like to improve our future as Australians. Do you like to walk on soft silky grass with a fresh breeze and blooming flowers everywhere you walk? I know the answer is yes. Well, this used to be our planet Earth hundreds of years ago but it’s not anymore. As a result of human inventions there is an increase in air, land and water pollution. I know that everyone will agree that is not good. Today I will be talking about an aspect of sustainability which is shifting to green, clean energy and will focus on two points an alternate way for clean energy and “electric is better”.

  1. An alternate way for clean energy
    Ferris wheel – you’ve all been on one and you all have seen one. What if I told you that it can produce energy? Well, not exactly but close. A wind turbine or windmill is a very sustainable way to make energy because it uses natural resources like wind. Wind was Australia’s leading source of clean energy in 2020 supplying 35.9% of Australia’s clean energy and 9.9% of Australia’s overall electricity. Solar panels are also a very reliable source for clean energy because it uses the sun as a source. I believe we as society should adopt these more widely in our country. Do you agree?

Now it’s up to us to act and to advocate for more use of electric vehicles, it is up to us to use more eco-friendly power sources and it’s up to us to realise How the new source of clean energy Impacts our world and the environment. This change is going to require the efforts of all of us. I’m just so angry, we need to act! We, the younger generation, need to fight to save the environment!! We need to believe. We cannot just sit around and wait for someone else to do it. We are the ones to do it. It is the new sense of responsibility for something that is already happening because we are the ones to keep the sun shining.

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.