News & Events

Kristy believes in a flower a day

July 15, 2019

Creating garden sanctuaries at Braeside Park has become a passion for Kristy Smyth. She helps some residents look after their existing gardens and also creates new, lovely garden spaces for residents who can no longer dig and plant, but who still love to see flowers blooms and smell the roses.

“I love helping the residents add some colour, brightness and life to the space outside their door or window. It means so much to some of the resident to have their favourite flowers growing, even in a pot,” Kristy said.

Kristy first started helping out residents with their gardening about a decade ago, usually doing the weeding and planting that involves kneeling down. For other residents she maintains their beloved ruses with annual pruning and maintenance. At the same time she started at Braeside Park she was working at a nearby nursery, learning all about growing a propagating plants.

“I got a hothouse and when I would prune trees and bushes I would take some of the cuttings and try to grow them, especially plants like geraniums and succulents,” Kristy said.

Her learning at the local nursery paid off and her talents as a propagator will be on show at the Braeside Park 150th anniversary Open Day on Saturday 12 October from 1pm to 3.30pm.

Visitors will be able to take a ‘souvenir’ of the village home with them after the Open Day because Kristy has propagated many pots of pink and white Coprosma, a plant commonly seen at Braeside Park. As well she has propogated Clivia and lemon thyme, also from village gardens and carnations, taken from the garden of a resident who has since died. Resident May Hedin who is Braeside Park’s community vegetable gardener has supported Kristy’s Open Day efforts.

“Sometimes, unless you are a keen gardener yourself, you can underestimate the affect of a garden, no matter how big or small. One lady wanted me to plant camellias for her, which I did. They were doing very well until a really harsh summer took a toll on the plants and they died. She was heartbroken and she said to me, ‘we need to look out and see life’,” Kristy said.

“I planted some more flowers for her and now they are in pots and she has flowers and colour to look at once again.”

“Having a small garden or pots is even more important if you can no longer get out much and see what change the seasons are bringing to the world around you.”

Leith Park is a wonderful place for single older women because of the community and the age-friendly accommodation. I don’t think I have ever felt as safe as I have here.

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