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‘Passion and a plan’ key to Garden Competition

“You don’t need to be a professional or a perfectionist to enter,” says two-time Napier Garden Competition winner, Jenny Todd. You just need passion and commitment.

City Gardening Competition 2017 resized

Two-time Napier Garden Champ, Jenny Todd: "Just give gardening a go! Once you have one success, repeat it. Less is often more when it comes to gardening – choose small groups of plants you know you can grow successfully.”

Jenny Todd admits it right off the bat. She pretty much never stops thinking about gardening. “Sad but true,” she says. “I’ll be cooking and thinking about gardening, or going for a walk and thinking about gardening. Even when I’m driving somewhere, I’ll notice a nice hedge and think about how it might look in my garden.”

A two-time winner of the Napier Garden Competition, Jenny – who lives in Greenmeadows – is keen to encourage more locals to get involved in the annual contest. “You don’t need to be a professional or a perfectionist to enter,” she says. “The only prerequisites are a passion for gardening and a commitment to putting in the time.”

Her first win came as a result of a friend entering her garden in the Dob in a Garden section of the competition, which is run annually by the Spirit of Napier Lions Club in conjunction with Napier City Council. “That was about seven years ago and I was very surprised to win it,” Jenny tells. “I entered again several years later – mainly because I’d changed quite a lot since the first win, and the closing date was excellent motivation to get a few things done that had been languishing on the to-do list.”

Jenny Todd: "I’m a bit over the top when it comes to weeds. I run around with a push hoe once a week – weeds don’t stand much of a chance when it comes to me!”

Now, she’s changed her garden up again – planting a number of fruit trees and expanding her edible garden. There are quaint touches at every turn – painted Cape Cod chairs to enjoy a cuppa on, a bird feeder that reads “Tui Takeaways” and mini disco balls strewn across her vege patch. “They’re supposed to keep the birds away, but frost cloth works better.”

A keen water conservationist, Jenny says green-fingered Hawke’s Bay residents should make careful choices when planting out their gardens. “You have to look at what can cope with the conditions. Of course, you need water when you’re establishing something, but then you need to water the plant, not the space in between the plants. That just encourages weeds!”

“I don’t believe in watering a great deal. You want the roots of your plants to go down to look for water. And I only water my lawn once in a while. For the garden, mulching is key - and the lawns always come back.” 

Her top tip for compost? “Keep it nice and wet, and you won’t get rats.”

And for weeds? “Well, I’m a bit over the top when it comes to weeds. I run around with a push hoe once a week – weeds don’t stand much of a chance when it comes to me!”

Jenny – who won’t be entering her garden this year – believes gardening is good for the soul and great thinking time. She wants all gardeners to consider entering the Napier Garden Competition and for the non-gardeners, “just give gardening a go! Once you have one success, repeat it. Less is often more when it comes to gardening – choose small groups of plants you know you can grow successfully.”

Is that a low maintenance approach? Jenny laughs. “I don’t think those words apply to gardening. ‘Reduced maintenance’ perhaps.”

Entries are now open for the Napier Garden Competition 2017, and close on 31 October. There are 12 categories, including categories for kids. For more information, and to enter, go tohttps://www.napier.govt.nz/napier/parks/gardens/garden-competition/

6 October 2017

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