Colour, quirk key to Bay’s grandest green honours

Colour, quirk key to Bay’s grandest green honours

From picking ripe baby tomatoes from the vine to taking a leisurely stroll through the hand-carved green house.

Residents from across the Fraser Coast were treated to a morning of discovery and wonder on Sunday when award-winning hobby gardener Darryl Kelley gave guests a tour of the region’s newly celebrated Grand Champion Garden.

While Mr Kelley said he had never fancied himself a “garden guru”, a passion for creating colourful flower beds and experimenting with a mix of plants and layouts saw his 1.25 acre property bag top honours in the Hervey Bay Spring Garden Competition for the second year in a row.

Mr Kelley and his wife Daphne bought the East Booral property – then just a vacant block of land – 10 years ago.

While the pair had grown and maintained a prosperous vegetable garden at their former 100 acre property in the foothills of Mount Glorious, a budding retirement saw the Kelley’s focus more intently on flowers as they worked to compose their new garden on the Fraser Coast.

Despite the gardening experience and past wins, Mr Kelley said being named the Grand Champion Garden had come as a surprise, especially after the bouts of heavy rainfall and wind that had wreaked havoc for gardeners in past months.

“It’s not easy because you have to have all your plants flowering at the same time as they judge and sometimes they just don’t flower until weeks after, or they flower before,” he said.

“It’s hard to get it all happening at once.”

Each year Mr Kelley digs up, re-fertilisers and re-plants his gardens in preparation for spring.

Aside from the calming greenhouse that Mr Kelley built himself, Scotty’s Beer Garden, named after his son-in-law, is one of his favourite parts of the garden and has played host to a few Father’s Day celebrations.