Stop and smell the roses with Lisa at STEPS Nursery

We recently sat down with nursery manager Lisa Buckley to find out what has been blooming at STEPS Nursery Caloundra.

What is your role here at STEPS?
I am the nursery manager, so I manage the day-to-day running of STEPS nursery. I also manage the volunteers, and students from Currimundi Special School when they come in, and train people on propagation skills by either seed or cutting.

How long have you been working here at STEPS? How did that come about?
I’ve worked here for about 7 months. I was ready for a new challenge, I wanted to work with people with disabilities and I saw it advertised. I love teaching people and I think it is just a great opportunity where I can give all of myself and train young people living with a disability.

I love working with young people with a disability in the nursery and seeing them achieve their goals.

Can you tell us about the people who volunteer at the nursery? What kind of work do they do to help out?

Each volunteer brings something different to the team and we have a broad range of volunteers. At the moment I’ve got one volunteer helping me setup a routine-program for people with disabilities who volunteer here throughout the week. I’ve got guys here from a building background that build different things for me. Everybody does the watering and weeding. Everybody is pretty diverse in what they do. They’re really great and it doesn’t matter what I ask them to do, they always oblige.

What is it you enjoy most about working at STEPS nursery?

I love working with young people with a disability in the nursery and seeing them achieve their goals. I also like how the nursery gives me the opportunity to meet new people in the community and provide them with quality plants.

What do you like least about your job?
The heat.

What is your most memorable moment here at STEPS?
We had a garden club that visited STEPS and about 28 people hopped of the bus, and it was just amazing to see the surprise on their faces when they saw this nursery: it was like they discovered a hidden gem. Then they all just started buying plants one after another. Three people were working full time at the cash register and it was nonstop. It was fantastic, the volunteers took it upon themselves to help the customers carry things in – it was just a team effort.

Who is it that you are most glad to have met at STEPS?
That is a hard one as each and every person brings something different to the team but I will say Jason, our nursery and site manager. With all the support he has given me, he has made my job a lot easier. He has such a great personality and has a heart of gold.

Is there one thing you wish people knew about gardening?
A plant will only grow as high as you want it to grow. Some gardeners come in and I might have a plant on the floor that they really like but they don’t think they can get it because it grows to 3 metres and that’s too high. Don’t be concerned about its height, if you want a plant to only grow a metre, it will only grow a metre, you just cut the top off it. If you like something, if you like the colour, like the flower, don’t worry about how high it grows.

Is there anything else you would like people to know?

A lot of people understand gardening is good for your soul and I believe more people should get involved with their gardens. Take the time and enjoy your garden, even if it’s only for half an hour on the weekend, it is perfect for the soul. I don’t really have to go home and garden because I do it here but I do.

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