HAPPY GARDENER: John Witten loves his little patch of paradise.
HAPPY GARDENER: John Witten loves his little patch of paradise.

Two talented gardeners lead the pack

LACK of rain didn't deter Ray Featherstone or John Witten from entering the Coffs Harbour Garden Competition this year, and the boys did well.

John took second in the Home Garden Maintained by Entrants 75-plus and the Patio, Courtyard or Balcony sections.

John is 91 years old and loves spending time in his colourful Sawtell garden. Up to eight hours daily is quite normal for him to tend his little patch of paradise.

John's wife was the one who always did the gardening - he was only allowed to dig the holes.

But since she passed away, the garden has become his lifeline and he is constantly adding new quirky features.

It's a small garden but one filled with love, interest and colourful displays.

On the other side of town, Ray Featherstone at the Masonic Village in Mackays Rd has also been recognised for his work and creativity.

Ray took home several gongs, including the prestigious Encouragement Award.

Ray is developing the common areas within the village and many of his ideas came from his six months living in Switzerland.

He began the gardens 18months ago with organically grown vegies and herbs, all thriving in his care and available for all the residents to share.

Many of the residents enjoy picking a few fresh leaves for a salad

All the plants are healthy and pest-free thanks to his secret ingredient, scattered egg shells, and growing all the produce from seeds.

Ray, with the help of his wife Ann, has planted out a large circle representing the Hands of Friendship, a Masonic symbol based on a floral clock he saw in Switzerland.

The circle is planted with colourful plants and also dwarf citrus trees, mainly lemons and limes, as requested by the residents for their gin and tonics.



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