Patricia Fitzpatrick gets to work in her Toormina garden.
Patricia Fitzpatrick gets to work in her Toormina garden. Leigh Jensen

Garden gloves on to defend title

SECATEURS have been sharpened and the garden gloves are on.

Patricia and Merv Fitzpatrick of Bower Crescent, Toormina are preparing to defend their title in the Coffs Harbour Garden Club 2012 Spring Garden Competition.

Patricia entered their garden in the competition for the first time last year and came away with the gong for "Best small home garden up to 600sq m" in the residential section.

"We were really thrilled and surprised with that win," she said. "I saw the form at the library and thought 'why not give it a go?' - and we won."

The Fitzpatricks' garden has an immaculate front lawn with a large, mature date palm as the focal point.

The rear garden is spilt-level and has a mix of natives and exotics, water features, statues and a couple of good-old-fashioned, friendly garden gnomes.

"We're lucky, we agree on the style of the garden, but we don't always agree on the cost," Patricia said with a laugh.

The couple shares the mowing, digging and planting, but when it comes to plant choice and identification Merv said, "I wouldn't have a clue".

Patricia was busy in the garden when our photographer called around to take some shots.

"It looks like a jungle at the moment. We've just been away on a five-week holiday and with all this rain we've had, everything, including the weeds will need attention. There's some pruning and a bit of tidying up to do to get ready for the competition."

Patricia heartily recommends two things to local gardens: entering the garden competition and using pebble mulch.

"One of the best things we did was put in pebble and stone mulches. You just put down weed mat and then lay a thick covering of the pebbles. It looks good, it keeps the weeds under control and means less work to get the garden competition ready."



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