We have always enjoyed gardening, but it wasn’t until our retirement in 1997 that we became avid gardeners. So much so that a few years later, we upsized to our current home because it had a large garden for us to indulge in our hobby. I might add that we were then at the age when most people were thinking of downsizing!
Our garden is nothing if not eclectic. In fact, a horticultural friend described it as a botanical zoo, one of everything! It has improved a little since then, but not much. It has certainly changed from when we first moved in 2006. Then it was very much buxus hedges, white icebergs and gardenias. Now there is not a buxus hedge in sight. One of our first jobs was to deal with the nature strips. We are on a corner block and have 3 nature strips, two of them with large Eucalyptus nicholii as street trees. Which meant for very poor lawns. That together with the fact that Keith does not like mowing meant changing the nature strips from grass into garden. We now have a far more attractive outlook, mainly natives. Council didn’t like it at first, a lack of conformity, but we were obstinate and they appear to have gone away.
The rest of the garden could loosely be described as a cottage garden, not too much planning and a wide variety of plants. It is a constantly changing thing, either because we feel like a change or from necessity. We recently lost a flowering crab apple which was the focus of one part of the garden, so now we need to either replace it or do something different. Not sure, but as it is a very sunny spot we think we might create a succulent garden there.
How did our love of gardening turn into the fund raising, twice yearly, plant sales? A now friend of ours, Bernard Chapman, he of the botanical zoo comment, suggested we open our garden in the now defunct, Australian Open Garden Scheme. This we did in March and October 2011. At both these open gardens we had a small stall selling plants Keith had propagated in support of Breast Cancer Research. We chose this charity to support as I, Maureene, had recently had breast cancer. Now opening your garden to the public is very nice, lots of compliments etc. but when you charge people to come and look there is a compulsion to make everything perfect. Very tiring and very difficult with something so alive as a garden. But Keith loved to propagate, we enjoyed gardeners coming to visit our garden so we decided to change the focus to the plant sale and people were free to wander around our garden if they wished.
Since that time the Plant Sale has become the "Huge Plant Sale" and seems to get bigger every year, but as it is held in our garage, which is a finite space, it has probably got as big as it is going to get. We continue to donate all the proceeds to the National Breast Cancer Foundation and whilst we can still hobble around intend to keep going with a Spring and Autumn sale. We could not do this however without the support of friends, both for help on the day and cuttings from their gardens.
Most importantly we could not do this without Carrie and the grandchildren, who come up from the country for the weekend, set up, sell on the day and clear up afterward.
We hold two sales a year in Spring and in Autumn. However we are propagating throughout the year so if there is something you are looking for, email us and we may be able to help.
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