Housing New Zealand is celebrating the pride and efforts our tenants take with their gardens by instigating our Great Gardens Awards.
Already, tenants across the country have started to be recognised for the time, skill and commitment they put into their gardens.
Many of their efforts are stunning and deserve recognition.
The Great Gardens Awards were established to encourage and acknowledge tenants who take care and pride in their outdoor spaces.
Chief Operating Officer Paul Commons says that while these awards may seem a small gesture to us working in Housing New Zealand, the ripple effects of our tenants’ great gardening are huge.
“It lifts not only our property and their spirits but also their street and, indeed, the entire neighbourhood.”
A great example in Christchurch last month was the garden of Mr Ronald and Mrs Stephanie Diggs in Stackhouse Ave, Bishopdale. Tenancy Manager Keri Healey described it as a credit to the elderly residents.
Daffodils, primulae and camellias were already in full bloom, alongside winter vegetables and strawberry plants in raised beds. A mirror has been thoughtfully placed against a fence to reflect a birdfeeder hanging nearby. This was “so the birds think they have company,” said Mrs Diggs who puts her love of garden design down to her artistic nature. Mr Diggs, aged 82, attends to ‘the practical tasks and the veges’.
The couple previously lived on a larger section, and have always enjoyed sharing their green fingers with others. A uniform row of succulents lines the outside fences of their home on the corner and their Housing New Zealand neighbours either side.
Another tenant making the most of her downsized garden is Denise Butterworth who lives in Acheson Ave, Shirley.
Tenancy manager Vicki Tucker says Denise keep a magnificent garden, despite health issues. She does it all herself, turning eggshells, pea straw and bags of compost into a wealth of produce, shrubs and flowers.
As well as tending her garden Denise enjoys her large family, including six great grandchildren. She also knits slippers – up to three pairs in an evening - for children in the Ukraine and Russia. “It’s good to do something for little ones who are going through tough times,” she says.
The third Christchurch winner was Sharlene Edwards of Inglis Street in Phillipstown. Tenancy Manager Renee Swainson says Sharlene has done some wonderful things with her outdoor space in the eight months she has lived there.
Any staff member from Housing New Zealand can nominate a resident or property they think deserves commendation.
Nominations are flooding in from all over the country.
The winners receive a garden voucher and certificate to mark their success.