THE green oasis that is Bidwill Community Garden has become a second home for volunteer Marjorie Mead.
Mrs Mead dedicates much of her spare time to being a volunteer at the garden, established in 2001 as a partnership between Blacktown City Council, Housing NSW, Juvenile Justice and the Botanic Gardens Trust.
The Bidwill community garden is one of six in the local government area and Mrs Mead, now the garden's co-ordinator, says the space has given her much to be thankful for.
"[Being involved with the garden] has given me a lot of joy. I've come a long way in the last few years.
"When I first got involved I would hardly say anything to anybody," she explained.
"It's been terrific. You get to meet lots of different people and it helps to get you out of your shell."
Research confirms what Mrs Mead and anyone with a hint of a green thumb already knows.
Community gardens offer "significant physical and psychological health benefits" including "reducing depressive conditions" the authors of a 2007 study by the faculty of the built environment at the University of NSW concluded.
"It is essential urban planners and policy makers respond to changing trends in residential living and open up the public sphere for community gardening."