IT has become as much a landmark as crossing the Tweed River for all those travellers either approaching or departing Tweed Heads to the south - Melaleuca Station Memorial Gardens which nestles between the intersection of the Pacific Hwy and Tweed Valley Way at Chinderah.
The spectacular building and magnificent gardens are impossible to miss for anyone driving north or south along both major thoroughfares.
The stunning building could be mistaken for a huge Edwardian railway station or a grand Victorian-era hotel - the imposing structure really grabs the eye.
As do the picture-perfect gardens on the 10-acre site, highlighted by the stunning topiary works which include a giant ship (Australian lilly pilly with Brown Pine "funnels"), the Melaleuca Station sign (Murraya) and a grove of 28 towering Hill's Weeping Fig (hilli ficus).
There are extensive hedges throughout the gardens as well as numerous gardens and a host of trees and shrubs which managed to escape the topiary bent of Trevor Parker, Melaleuca's resident gardener, groundsman and yes, artist.
Mr Parker wields his hedge-trimmer with the skills of a neuron-surgeon using a scalpel.
His dexterity with the machine is a wonder to behold as he works on his huge "canvas".
"I've been doing it for nigh on 20 years so you would reckon I'd have it down pat by now," Mr Parker.
Mr Parker gives his artwork a trim whenever he believes the leaves have become a "bit scraggly".
"All of the topiary pieces get a trim because their leaves seem to grow about the same speed across all the species of plants," Mr Parker said.
"Once I start, it normally takes me two weeks to get through all the work, a lot of which involves using a cherry-picker to access high and awkward places."
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