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Proud of your garden? Share it with the community, John Harvie says
One of last year’s Murray Bridge Spring Garden Competition winners is urging green thumbs of all ability levels to submit their entries in 2022.
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When you’ve put years worth of work into a garden, it’s worth sharing, John Harvie says.
There were plenty of “hidden gems” around the district, he said, even if their owners mightn’t think they were anything special.
Well-kept gardens brought joy to people who passed by, and helped make the community a more pleasant place to live.
“People probably don’t think anyone else is interested, but they are,” he said.
“Too many places around town have got a couch out the front, a car bonnet up and not much more, but there’s more to the town than that.”
A childhood spent on a family farm in the Mid North gave Mr Harvie an affection for all things that grow; and a working life in classrooms and a timber yard prompted him to find a creative outlet.
The garden of the Murray Bridge home he and his wife Marlene bought in 2007 quickly became his pet project.
“If you’d had a hard day, you’d come home, pick some veggies, do some weeding, something like that,” he said.
“Marlene will sit inside and do a crossword puzzle and I’ll be out here watering.
“You’ve got to have some sort of interest, (especially) when you retire.”
The couple had planned to downsize from an 1100-square-metre block at Mannum, but fell in love with a house set on 2300m2.
So, over the past 15 years, Mr Harvie has transformed the block into a series of productive, colourful outdoor spaces where grandparents and grandkids alike love to spend time.
Out the front is “Harvie Walk”, a choose-your-own-adventure network of gravel paths which weave beneath arches, between eremophilas and coprosmas, and over a tiny creek when the rainwater tanks overflow.
Each path or bridge is named after a member of the family.
A lawn stretches out in front of the house, lined with roses and lavender, as a Port Adelaide Football Club flag flutters proudly in the breeze – Mr Harvie makes sure to point it out.
Around the side is a veggie patch filled with strawberries, rhubarb, lettuces, an old trough full of herbs, and fruit trees grafted together: this one a tangelo, lime and lemon tree; that one a peach, apricot and plum.
What they can’t eat themselves or pass on to neighbours and relatives, they donate to Foodbank’s food hub.
Behind the house, set in front of a fence made of railway sleepers and hoops from old barrels, is a gravel bed filled with kangaroo paws, succulents and other low-maintenance species.
Come back around to the driveway and you’ll find a colourful mix of flowers and shrubs.
Creating a calendar, with photos of their garden at different times of the year, was one way the couple had done that.
Entering the spring garden competition was another.
Mr Harvie encouraged anyone with a passion for gardening to have a go in this year’s competition.
Entries will close on September 15.
Enter the competition: Download the nomination form below and submit it to email@example.com, or the Murray Bridge council office on Seventh Street, by September 15.
More information: www.murraybridge.sa.gov.au.
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