Garden beds that have their roots in a five-year-old dispute with council are adding new life to the facade of an acclaimed Bendigo restaurant.
Wicking beds full of native plants were this week installed outside the Masons of Bendigo shopfront on Queen Street.
The restaurant first tried to improve its streetscape five years ago, but the picket fencing used drew ire from the city because it did not meet planning regulations.
So chef and co-founder Sonia Anthony was elated when the new wood and corrogated iron designs won approval from the City of Greater Bendigo.
“Time's a good thing, and definitely there's been some movement within the council so they're a lot more co-operative now,” Ms Anthony said.
“They were just really open to the idea we had and the process was really smooth."
Ms Anthony said the planter boxes were a welcome distraction to the concrete that dominated the streetscape and made it a more appealing place for her customers.
“We realise it’s not a space for people to sit and enjoy, but we do want to make sure that what we put out there looked pleasing,” Ms Anthony said.
The idea for the wicking beds came from similar installations around Bendigo, including those in Lyttleton Terrace and outside the Discovery Centre.
She hoped even more businesses would implement the idea in the Bendigo CBD, an area of the city much maligned for its retail woes and reports of anti-social behaviour.
Ms Anthony told critics of the district it was “time to move on”.
“We all know there's issues in the mall but there are a lot of people, council included, that want to make a better outcome for that space,” she said.
Another success of the wicking bed project was the collaboration between local community members that went into their construction, the chef said.
Luke Feiss, from Feiss Furniture Bendigo, designed and built the beds, which were then filled with native plants sourced from the Goldfields Revegetation Nursery. Dja Dja Wurrung elder Aunty Julie McHale offered guidance on plants picked.