BEING able to visit some of Lismore's most beautiful gardens created an grown with love took my breath away last week.
Beautiful flowers, fragrant shrubs, gorgeous vegetable and herbs beds, delightful plantings, intriguing plant combinations plus amazing dedication by some of our more inspiring and intrepid gardeners, have resulted in gardens created with a real love of growing plants.
On Friday the Lismore Home Garden Education Club announced the winners of their their annual Spring Garden Competition, and over the next few weeks in this column I'll be highlighting some of those winners and place-getters.
This year's Champion Garden winners Maree and Paul Parkinson took the crown for the fourth time in eight years.
Featuring sweeping lawns, beds of colourful shrubs and flowers, rockeries, sculptures from local artists and amazing views over North Lismore.
In only seven years these green-thumbs created a stunning garden on over 2ha, which incorporates two hives for native bees which as well as adding interest, help with the pollination.
A number of blooming plants in pots also shows how you can create colour and texture to show plants off at their best.
The plantings show this dynamic duo understand how to combine native plants with exotics to create spaces which provide interest.
While watering is a challenge at the best of times, their 22,000L tank helps and the couple said they are planning to hook up the septic to allow recycled water to water the rear yard.
Mrs Parkinson said in previous years they celebrated wins with a new stature or sculpture.
"This year I think we will pay the water bill,” she said with a smile.
Mr Parkinson said the garden is a real sanctuary.
"We love doing this”, he said looking around garden.
"Gardening is so relaxing and the Lismore Garden Club is very friendly and a lot of fun.”