Fran Wilde may be a late bloomer in the world of gardening, but the Greater Wellington regional council chairwoman is more than happy to promote its benefits.
"It's great because it gets me outside one day a week in the fresh air," she said. "And it gives me some very good thinking time because there's not a lot of conversation coming from the plants."
Her Greytown garden is one of 14 stops on this year's Wairarapa Garden Tour, which takes place this weekend.
The event is a fundraiser for the Pukaha Mt Bruce Forest Restoration Programme, which aims to keep the Wairarapa wildlife centre safe from predators.
She had been developing her Greytown garden for "seven to eight" years, and it had lately become a real hobby, she said.
"I don't play golf, I don't paint, but I do garden . . . and I find it remarkably enjoyable."
Getting the garden up to speed for the tour had been "challenging", she said.
"But it has forced us to do some of the big things we wanted to get done, so in terms of our five-year plan it's looking pretty good for the next few years."
She would be taking the tour herself as it was for a good cause.
Organiser John Gilberthorpe said he approached Ms Wilde last year about including her garden.
"I've seen it evolve over about eight years and she's done an amazing transformation of a paddock, basically.
"It just shows what a lot of people like her who live in Wairarapa are doing. It's a weekend garden, she works in it on Sundays, and it is fantastic what she's achieved."
The 14 gardens ranged from modern to "rambling traditional" gardens, and featured smaller Greytown "town gardens" as well as large country gardens.
Other notables include Assisi Garden, recognised as a garden of national significance, and Tidsfordriv, on the outskirts of Masterton. About 100 volunteers would help on the day of the tour.
TAKE THE TOUR
Tickets are available for $40 until Sunday, from Westpac branches in Pahiatua, Carterton or Masterton, or from i-Sites in Masterton and Martinborough, or Adorne in Greytown.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Would you support your local council paying the 'living wage'?Related story: Council's living wage blowout