Best in schools
The man who created a garden for special needs children at an Otahuhu school has been named the country's Best School Gardener.
Fazley Imandin teaches horticulture and music at Mt Richmond Special School and wanted to give his pupils a space where they could see, touch and interact with nature at whatever level they could.
His 15-year-old daughter Anya nominated her dad in the 2012 Gardener of the Year competition and says he created and maintains a space that includes a small waterfall, herbs, fruit trees and bright colours which all the pupils now enjoy.
Kids can wet their feet in the fountain, smell the flowers and take time out when they are feeling stressed. Other children have been able to help plant, sow and weed.
Fazley says the children love hands-on projects.
‘It's fantastic to get them out of the classroom and in the fresh air," he says.
Some pupils have been able to take something home from the gardens which they have grown themselves.
"This is quite a big thing for some of the families as their kids can't do quite as much as other kids," Anya says.
Fazley studied horticulture at the Manukau Institute of Technology and is always out in the garden any chance he gets, his proud daughter says.
"Dad's succulent garden is definitely my favourite place to be. Whenever someone is having a birthday, they always ask my dad for one of his gorgeous plants for a present.
"And Dad makes learning about the plants fun and exciting for the kids and it's an achievement they can be proud of."
The competition is run by NZ Gardener magazine.