Gracemere's Mary and Ian McKenzie won grand champion garden on Saturday in the 2009 Regional Garden Competition.
Gracemere's Mary and Ian McKenzie won grand champion garden on Saturday in the 2009 Regional Garden Competition. Chris Ison

Mary's dream is finally realised

MARY McKenzie waited five years to build her dream garden.

And just 10 months after she started building it, she won the grand champion garden award in this year's Regional Garden Competition.

Mrs McKenzie was one of the region's many green thumbs to be announced on Saturday during a morning tea at Archer Park Rail Museum.

She said she went along to see who had won, not expecting it to be her, and when she was announced she got “such a shock”.

Mrs McKenzie, 58, and her husband Ian, 69, purchased a “perfect” block of land at 3 Freeman Court in the new Cherryfields Estate at Gracemere five years ago.

When they finally moved in 10 months ago, the retired couple immediately started work on the garden.

They have laid $26,000 worth of Sir Walter turf and invested about $18,000 on landscaping and planting iceberg roses, grevilleas, palms and fruit trees.

Mrs McKenzie said it was even more surprising to win because her garden hadn't completely blossomed yet.

It will probably be another year before it's in full bloom.

Mrs McKenzie also won the Best Urban Residential Garden Over 1000m².

Yesterday she said she had purchased all her gardening products locally.

Mr and Mrs McKenzie owned a large cattle grazing property in Blackwater, but had always dreamed of retiring in Gracemere.

Her advice to other gardeners is try something different - and to keep trying.

“I never used to have roses but someone told me to try icebergs and keep clipping them, now you can see them from the highway,” she said.

The Regional Garden Competition attracted 48 entries this year, with major sponsors The Morning Bulletin, 4RO, Turfgrass and Betascapes.

Garden winners

Grand Champion Garden
- 1st Mary McKenzie, Gracemere; 2nd Deanne Rainbird, Yeppoon; 3rd Lance and Cherie Wood,

Rocky View Young Gardener Award - Gogango State School

Dob in a Garden
- Alice Charles, Kawana; Eileen and George Arnold, Nth Rockhampton; Carol and Bill McIver, Rockhampton

Best Native Garden - Tucker family, Rockhampton

Best Kitchen Garden - Brian Rimmingston, Rockhampton

Best Water Efficient Garden - Rockhampton Grammar School

Best School Garden - 1st Ridgelands State School; Encouragement award - Gogango State School

Best Corporate Garden
- Mater Hospital, Yeppoon; encourage award - Gracemere State School

Best Urban Residential Garden Over 1000m²
- Mary McKenzie, Gracemere

Best Urban Residential Garden Under 1000m²
- Carol and Bill McIver, Rockhampton; encourage award - Don and Samantha Cameron, Norman Gardens

Best Rural Garden
- Eric Matheson, Bouldercombe

Best Spring Garden - Alice Charles, Kawana

Best Garden Entry for each Division

• Division 1 - 1st Ross and Norma Seeney, Yeppoon, 2nd Carolyn Schilling, Glenlee

• Division 2 - Stephen and Madeleine Foster, Keppel Sands

• Division 3 - Yeppoon State School

• Division 4 - 1st Gracemere State School, 2nd John Can Estate Aged Hostel, Mount Morgan

• Division 5 - The Hall State School

• Division 6 - 1st Diocesan Catholic Education Office, 2nd Endeavour Industries

• Division 7 - 1st Oak Tree Retirement Village, 2nd Shirley Hopkins, Kawana

• Division 8 - 1st Lakes Creek State School, Merv; 2nd Theresa Swift, Nth Rockhampton

• Division 9 - 1st Don and Samantha Cameron, Norman Gardens; 2nd Eileen and George Arnold, Nth Rockhampton

• Division 10 - 1st Mount Archer School; 2nd Gertrud Camm, Nth Rockhampton


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