Blue Haven Illawarra | World Environment Day 2022
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World Environment Day 2022

Blue Haven will mark this year’s World Environment Day on 5 June by celebrating our gardens and gardeners.

The 2022 World Environment Day slogan is “Only One Earth” and the focus is on “Living Sustainably in Harmony with Nature”. It’s a day for ordinary people to do something positive for the environment.

Gardening has helped many of our Blue Haven residents during the COVID-19 lockdowns. The Blue Haven Lifestyle team constructed garden beds for the Bonaira Residential Aged Care Facility residences so they could get outdoors even when the facility was closed to visitors due to the pandemic.

We caught up with Thelma Allman, Blue Haven Bonaira Residential Aged Care Facility resident. Thelma is an avid gardener and found joy in gardening during COVID lockdowns.

Thelma tells us that the key to healthy plants is to talk to them. She enjoys growing her own strawberries, rosemary, tomatoes and a variety of succulents.

Backing onto a rainforest reserve and with the beach just a short walk away, the location of Bonaira is hard to beat. Thelma enjoys walking through the Bonaira Native Gardens down to Kendalls Beach to dip her toes in the sea and enjoy the natural surrounds.

Thelma spent her childhood on a farm and loves the outdoors. “Gardening is a way to keep you busy and keep you active”, she says. “I grew up on a farm and I just love being out in the open air enjoying nature.”

The Bonaira Independent Living Units (ILUs) also boast their own well established gardens. The residents share veggie patches and take a collective approach to their communal gardens.

Much thought and care was put into designing and landscaping the Blue Haven Bonaira gardens. The grounds include a plethora of Australian native plant species and include the following:

  • Dementia Garden – with a walking track, vegetable garden seating and multiple exotic and native plant types to reflect the seasons.
  • Arrival Garden – our internal rainforest garden located in the main lobby creates a natural feature to the building entry.
  • Dry creek bed and dense plantings, including small trees, create a natural vegetated buffer between adjoining residents.
  • Maze Garden – a series of low hedges create a path with ‘surprise spaces’ to provide a natural children’s play area beside Barroul House café.
  • Arbor structure planted with local native climbing plants forms a protected walkway for residents linking the ILUs to the main building.
  • ILU Deciduous Garden – raised embankment planting with colourful low shrub and groundcovers with deciduous trees to allow winter sun into resident courtyards.
  • ILU Residents Garden – a ground floor paved courtyard with private spaces defined with raised planters and planting. Plant types include a mix of coastal rainforest and exotic trees to maximise winter sun.
  • Each of the eight households in the Residential Aged Care Facility are named after flora and fauna, with all but one being local to the area. The home names are: Cedar, Palm, Flame Tree, Wattle, Lilly Pilly, Figtree, Ironbark and Banksia.

COVID-19 has shown that pandemics can seriously affect people’s physical and mental health. However, we know that when people can engage and physically interact with nature, they often have greater wellbeing overall.

Gardening can generate multiple benefits for physical, mental, social, and cognitive health and help reduce mental distress. All of this has been especially welcome during the pandemic (Link University of Surrey Environmental Psychology Research Group: garden-report.pdf (

So this World Environment Day, Blue Haven celebrates our beautiful gardens and all our wonderful resident gardeners.

If you would like to book a private tour of the Bonaira facility and gardens please call Blue Haven Reception at (02) 4203 4055 or visit Blue Haven Illawarra | Bonaira and fill out the online request form.


Thelma Allan, Blue Haven Bonaira resident enjoying her courtyard gardens



Bonaira ILU’s lush landscaping



Bonaira ILU’s collective veggie garden



Appreciating the natural surrounds from the Bonaira Sky Deck


31st May 2022



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