Passionate Plant People: A Garden Fit For A Plant Doctor

19 Jul, 2022

Meet Tracey, Kings online Plant Doctor, who shares her ever-evolving garden with us full of year-round colour, beautiful scents and a friendly blackbird fondly referred to as Mrs Birdy.

How long have you lived at your home in Beach Haven?

I have lived here for seven years. We spent two years preparing the garden, as it was pretty neglected when we first bought the house, but I could see the potential.

What was the garden like when you first moved in?

When I moved in with my partner Richard, the garden needed some drastic attention. The fences needed replacing, the old large clumps of agapanthus needed pulling out, and the six or so remaining trees needed to go to give us a bare canvas to work with. It took months to build the fences and get rid of all the plants that had to go.

We spent many a day sitting outside with a pen and paper drawing what we wanted. Richard's only requests were a nice flat lawn and some olives. My key objectives were to provide us with privacy from the busy road, and have fragrance and flowers throughout the year. Once the groundwork was done it was time to let loose and plant. I had a been buying plants and stockpiling them for months, keeping them watered and fed until I could plant them.

What did you first plant into your garden after all the preparation and planning?

The first thing we planted in the front garden were two titokis to give us some privacy from the busy street, along with two rows of El Greco olives. Around the same time, I also planted a veggie garden out the back, with loads of tomatoes, capsicum, courgette, and herbs. Not long after, I planted citrus trees which now produce an abundance of mandarins and lemons each season!

What do you love most about your garden now?

I love the variety, there is always something different to see.

"I'm a trial and error gardener, I'll plant anything to see how it grows..."

...if it doesn't thrive there I will move it or give it to friends or neighbours. I also love spending time in the garden with my mum. It's a place we can be together, chatting and trying new things. I find it relaxing after spending all day at work, to have a private place where I can connect with nature and just enjoy the calm.

Birdy and Garden Tips

What is your favourite plant?

I don't really have a favourite plant. I love seeing the different colours come to life each season and have made an effort to have lots of different flowering plants staggered so there’s always something bright blooming. I am not a rose lover but I have one rose called Blue Moon which is pretty special. I love its fragrance and repeat flowering.

Where did your love of plants come from?

I guess it was from growing up on a farm. My mother always had lovely flowers. Working at Kings for so many years has helped me learn about all the different varieties of plants available each season and now I find it hard not going home with a new plant when it comes instore.

Tell us about Birdy, your local feathered friend.

Lol, it's Mrs. Birdy. She has had two nests in our olive hedges, and when we're working in the garden she flits in to see what we’re doing so we started giving her worms in a saucer. Now we feed her mealworms every day and she sits on the back of the chair outside the door clacking until we feed her. She comes back about four times a day for a snack. Sometimes you hear her early in the morning clacking away happily and it’s a lovely reminder to take time to sit and enjoy the garden.

What is your top gardening tip?

Take your time getting to know the lay of the land, before deciding what and where to plant. What areas are in sun and shade, how does the soil drain, and which areas are windy? Having this information will help you to decide where you can plant each species.

What question do you get asked most often as Kings Online Plant Doctor?

Usually, it is about indoor plants and why are the leaves browning or falling off. This is normally a result of incorrect or inconsistent watering. See more of Tracey’s garden in our winter Passionate Plant Person video on the Kings YouTube channel!

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