Newsletter Sept 2021


While many Australians are celebrating Father’s Day on the first Sunday in Sept, Asian-Australians will be thinking of Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節 Zhongqiu Jie) celebrated on the 15th day (full moon day) of the 8th Lunar month. This year, it falls on Mon 20th Sept. The closest Western equivalent I could think of is ‘Thanks Giving‘. It is a Harvest Festival that dates back to almost the beginning of China’s history. As a kid growing up in Hong Kong, the ‘Moon Festival’ was my No. 1 celebration of the year. Plentiful supply of fruits, vegetables, and grains back in ancient time after a good harvest. Traditionally, Chinese celebrate over 3 evenings to: ‘Welcome, Appreciate and Chase the Moon’. Apparently , the full moon on the 8th Lunar month is the fullest and brightest in a year. It is also the time for family members from afar to return home for a ‘Reunion Dinner‘ and share some moon cakes together. You can read more about the cultural practices here.

With NSW’s daily COVID-19 positive cases jumped through the 1,000 mark and not knowing when LOCKDOWN will be lifted, many Australians are watching this Delta-strain like a Genie out of the bottle! I think RUOK? Day cannot come at a better time! Thursday, 9/9 is this year’s RUOK? Day with the theme ‘ARE THEY REALLY OK? ASK THEM TODAY!’ If it wasn’t because of the lockdown, Community Flower Studio would be hosting a ‘RUOK? Day Pop-up Stall’. I would be busy arranging fresh ‘yellow’ bouquets with black wrapping paper. The photo below was from last year’s stall. Nonetheless, I created some ‘RUOK? Terrariums 10 cm ($23) and 12 cm ($28). This is to spread the message of Resilience – the symbol of succulents. and promote gardening as a effective coping strategy to the ‘LOCKDOWN BLUES’. If you would like to give such a Terrarium to someone within the Willoughby LGA, CFS will offer FREE delivery to orders by members or newsletter subscribers.


Flower of the Month

by Dr Bibiana Chan

Jonquil 水仙

Jonquil – (Narcissus jonquilla) with pleasant fragrance and bright yellow blossoms has long been a mid-spring favourite. It is a native of Spain and Portugal. It is sometimes called narcissus or rush daffodils. It is associated with the Greek myth of Narcissus, a handsome young man who fell in love with his own reflection. He was drowned while staring at himself in a pool of water.  Jonquil is a cultivate of Daffodils.

In the Victorian language of flowers, jonquils symbolize forgiveness or a desire that affection is returned. The lovely blossoms have other meanings across cultures, such as creativity, inspiration, vitality, forgiveness, success.

A special cultivate (Narcissus tazetta subsp. Chinensis) with white petals. Its Chinese name (水仙, Shuǐxiān) literally means ‘Water Fairy’. It is very popular during Chinese New Year. Many Chinese will select a pot with 5-6 bulbs to take home and fill the house with the very relaxing perfume of Jonquil.  In Chinese folklore, the flowers represent the new year. They may signify rebirth, renewal, and vitality.

They can also be given to show one’s support during difficult times, or to those who have just experienced a traumatizing event. Their vibrant yellow color is sure to brighten one’s day. Every year in August, the Cancer Council in Australia launches their ‘Daffodil Day’ to raise funds for Cancer Research and support Cancer Survivors.

Here are some practical guides on How to plant Jonquil.

I still remember a folk song ‘What a pretty Jonquil’ I learnt in primary school. I found a poem by William Wordsoworth which expressed the poet’s loneliness but found comfort in the sight of some beautiful Daffodils. Have a listen and tell us what you think?

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud 

Narcissus tazetta subsp. Chinensis)
A typical Jonquil arrangement during Chinese New Year.

A Daffodil & Statice Arrangement

The scene of a Flower Market in Victoria Park, HK.


DIY Succulent Terrarium Workshopby McKayla & Sophy

Limited spots left! Register today to avoid disappointment.

Date: Sat 18/9 Time: 1230 – 1330 Venue: via Zoom

A link will be sent to the registered participants

Free for anyone between 11 yr to 25 yr. CFS members are welcome. Non-members over 25 yrs old pay $28 to cover costs of materials. Send Bibi an email to enquire.

A participant busy creating a Succulent Terrarium

Online Shop Coming Soon

The flowers of a succulent
A ‘dolphin’ succulent

Plant of the month

by Dr Bibiana Chan

The Geraldton Wax Flower

Chamelaucium Uncinatum belongs to the Myrtaceae family. A native shrub, growing to around 2m, is commonly called the Geraldton Wax. It is , originally from South-Western Western Australia,  a woody evergreen shrub. The leaves are tiny to medium-sized and arranged opposite on the stems. They contain oil glands and are aromatic,[1] often giving off a pleasant aroma when crushed. The flowers are small and have five petals, ten stamens, and are followed by small hardened fruit. However, the varieties offered for sale and grown in Australia are generally hybrids with bearing larger flowers. There are over 30 Geraldton Wax species, hybridization also make plant-care easier.

The cut-flower industry saw the potential of Geraldton Wax for the overseas market because the flowers are long lasting and tightly packed. They flower prolifically at the end of the stem, making them ideal for picking. You can find the top 10 varieties here.

My favourite is ‘Moonlight Delight’ – with large glossy red buds open to masses of large white flowers with striking red centres in early spring. Grows in the full sun or partly shaded position to a height of 2m and spreading to 1.5m. I like to use branches of red buds as filler flowers.

I often share my No. 1 tip of caring for indoor or outdoor plant with friends and customers. It is to mimic their natural conditions. In this case it is sun, good drainage and neglect. In nature they grow in poor sandy soils and do not need lots of fertilizer and rarely require watering. Geraldton Wax responds well to pruning. The best time to give it a good hair-cut is in Spring, immediately after flowering. This ensures a dense bushy growth and more flowers in the next season. Prune back by 1/3 each year as a guide. To find out more about how to grow Geraldton wax in your backyard, check out this video clip.

When Geraldton Wax is in season, I will buy the buds as filler flowers. Sometimes, these pink buds will open up to beautiful white flowers! You can view how the blooms are harvested in a farm near Perth.

Moonlight Delight (Credit: Kellie Lewis)
Raspberry Ripple (Credit: Domus Nursery)
Viesuvius (Credit : Domus Nursery)
HAB Geraldton wax – Chamelaucium Strawberry Surprise. Pic supplied by Helix Pty Ltd, courtesy of Kings Park.

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by Kim Wilkins

DEAD MAN’S GRIP by Peter Jame

Peter James is one of Britain’s best known crime fiction writers, particularly for a series of novels centring on  a policeman from the coastal English city of Brighton, Detective Superintendant Roy Grace.  The word “dead” appears in most of the book titles.

   Besides Roy the other main character is a solicitor named Carly who was one of several unfortunate people involved in a car accident in Brighton where the person killed was the grandson of an American mafia don. The mafia family seeks vengeance on everyone involved.

 It is well researched and written.  The last half of the book is a real page turner.  However, I found that the first 50 pages has too many characters introduced too quickly. For a while it is difficult to know which character is which and who is living with who.

Interestingly, all the evil psychopaths in the book are American, while your average Brighton policeman or women appears to be a bright, hard working, honest copper with a sad love life. The plot is a bit corny; somewhat like “The Godfather” meets “Midsomer Murders”.  But the characters are all well developed and it is fast paced in the true crime novel style. Past page 200 I could not put the book down.

Dead Man’s Grip was published in 2011 and is 500 pages.  After you have read it you will be a little concerned if you have a road accident with an American.

e culture from a European perspective but does not fall into the trap of being patronising or condescending.

I actually bought this book at the aboriginal museum in Brewarina, where the ancient fish traps are, earlier this year.  You really have to read the whole book, some 300 pages, to gain some understanding of the concept and that in itself makes this a fascinating read.


Hong Kong egg tart

by Anthony Ni

Freshly baked egg tarts from the oven onto the cooling rack.

Many people who have been to ‘ Yum-Cha’ (literally means drink-tea) at a Chinese restaurant would have tried this famous Hong Kong Egg Tarts. COVID-19 Lockdown can’t stop you from enjoying them. Why don’t you try this recipe (made 24) and bake some egg tarts yourself! Share your ‘Egg Tarts’ photos with our readers by sending an email to

Freshly made egg tarts at a bakery in Hong Kong.

Ingredients for Pastry

  • Castor Sugar 70 g
  • Unsalted butter 200g
  • Eggs x 2
  • Plane white flour 380 g
  • Salt 0.5g
  • Vanilla Extract 2g

Ingredients for Egg Sauce

  • Eggs x 4
  • Water 320 ml
  • Milk 400 ml
  • Sugar 70 g


  1. Place butter and sugar into a bowl and whisk until combined
  2. Then add eggs together and use an electronic mixer to whisk until texture become consistent.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and work into a dough.
  4. Wrap the dough in plastic film and chill it until it is firm enough to handle. It will take approximately 20 minutes.  
  5. Divide dough roughly into 24 x 30g pieces using cookie cutters. Place into the tart shells or muffin mould.
  6. Mix the ingredients of the egg sauce with a fork or a pair of chop sticks until all well combined.
  7. Pour egg sauce into the tart shells as shown in the photo below . Bake at 190 C for 20-25 mins.

You may check out the video demonstrating this recipe of the famous Hong Kong Egg Tarts.

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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


Greater Sydney LOCKDOWN has passed the ‘2 months’ mark. In response to the concern about people’s mental wellbeing, CFS will host a ‘Mental Health Month Creative Weekend’ on 16 -17 Oct. to bring the whole family together. This event was originally scheduled for Moon Festival in Oct 2020. The Creative weekend was planned over 3 days: children (6 – 10 yr old) making Traditional Chinese Lanterns and young people/adults (aged 11 yr +) creating succulent terrariums.  We were expecting over 100 children and over 100 young people/adults participating in this event. This creative weekend was funded by the first community matching grant awarded by the City of Sydney Council (CSC). Both CSC and CFS contributed $3,500 to this project to celebrate the cultural practices (e.g. lanterns, moon cakes and family reunion etc.) surrounding the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Due to the cautious approach held by CSC, our venue (the state of the art ‘Ideas Room’ at Darling Square Library) was not open even the first wave of COVID-19 was well under control by September. This event was rescheduled for Feb 2021 Chinese New Year’s Lantern Festival (元宵佳節 Yuánxiāo jiājié) to ride on the ‘lantern’ theme. Unfortunately, due to the Avalon cluster in Dec 2020, CSC once again suspended ALL venue-hire to their library facilities. The Ideas Room was NOT available in Feb 2021. I had no choice but to reschedule the event to for ‘Moon Festival 2021’. In my submission, I wrote “I hope by then ‘everyone who wants a jab would have gotten a jab’. “September 2021” was the original target for completing the Federal Vaccine Roll out for Australia. 

I could never imagine that I had to reschedule this ‘Creative Weekend’ for a third time. Each time, I had to summit tons of paperwork explaining the reasons for the change and to demonstrate how I could ensure the event would be able to launch at the new dates. I hope this will be my ‘Third time LUCKY’. CFS is tapping onto the CYBERSPACE! We are now offering 4 VIRTIAL Workshops via ZOOM in different languages (Cantonese, Mandarin and English) over the weekend of Sat – Sun of 16-17 Oct. This is to coincide of the Mental Health Month in October! Every year, CFS hosts an event in October to promote mental health to the community (via our website, e-Newsletter, Facebook page and community events). 

I remember receiving a text message from an SBS Radio Producer asking me whether I knew anyone who was affected by COVID-19 and would be happy to share their stories. Have you heard of any stories about how small NGOs have been affected by COVID-19 lockdown? I think the story I just shared here is definitely a good example! It was about ‘RESILLIENCE! GROWTH! COMMUNITY! CREATIVITY! RESOURCES, RECOVERY and SUPPORT! All the values in the CFS LOGO! 

Martin Luther King Jr 1963


The positives of lock down!

By Carol Sudul

Sayings we can all relate to since COVID-19 started”

“We are all in this together!

We are riding the waves of life!

The most important things in life are free!

You don’t realise what you have till it is gone!

What goes up must come down – something we may need to remember as numbers climb!

At the moment there are many struggling with the isolation so now is the time when you get a call/text from someone they are probably reaching out to you.  This is the best time to ask  “ Are you okay ?” How are you coping in these uncertain times?.  When someone reaches out mostly they just want someone to listen to them.   Kindness is what we need to remember in these challenging times so there is so many struggling emotionally and financially and just a simple act of kindness can make a huge difference in some one’s day/life.

Here are some quotes about KINDNESS upon what matters most in life!

Mini-succulent pots
Pyramidal Terrariums (Black & White image)

Buy from LOCAL FARMERS By Florist Bibi

There is a movement in America to buy from local farmers. Similar call for Aussie florists to follow suit is getting louder. There are labels (e.g. a gold and green iconic Kangaroo image with words such as ‘Australian grown’ ) printed on the plastic pocket protecting the flower stems. There are obvious benefits for supporting our local growers – reducing carbon footprint is one of them. The other important benefit is that the flowers would last a lot longer. This is simply because the flowers from the local farmers most likely were only cut the day before they were delivered to the flower market. If you think about the imported roses which are usually harvested up to a week before they arrived at the ‘Land of Oz’ from Kenya or Columbia. The stems are placed in a fridge for storage, the vase life (the duration of the flower staying beautiful in a vase) will be much reduced.

Fragrance is another reason why you would like to buy flowers from our local growers. The local roses’ smell is divine! Import varieties are usually genetically engineered to be pest-resistant to produce high-yield crop. The beautiful scent is ‘eliminated’ so the flowers will NOT attract pests.

Finally, add a little bit of patriotic spirit to support our Aussie farmers – Buy Australian Made! Somehow due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the amount of imported flowers has been dramatically reduced and florists have no choice but to look for domestic supply.

Community Flower Studio is proud to source our flowers from local growers like Nati Roses  and East Coast Wild Flowers.  Craig Scott (East Coast Wild Flowers) is a 4th generation flower grower with a passion for growing Australian plants. He appeared on ABC Gardening Australia to tell the story of how the farm started by his great-grandfather: My Path: Growing Australian Wildflowers

Bouquets made with locally grown flowers

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.