Garden guru shares secrets

JO MOIR
Last updated 05:00 13/07/2012
murrell stand
JONATHAN CAMERON
Garden designer and television celebrity Tony Murrell.

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Gardening guru Tony Murrell sleeps in a box but lives in a garden.

The 44-year-old garden designer, broadcaster and self-professed garden motivator spends his sleeping hours in his 12th-floor Auckland apartment.

But seven days a week he gets his hands dirty in anyone's garden and that's where he is happiest.

Murrell was in New Plymouth last night launching the 25th annual Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular.

Ironically, his own gardening career is also celebrating the quarter-century mark and at last night's launch he delivered a speech of 25 tips, quips and stories from under the hedge.

Various props were featured in his yarn, including his favourite tool of the trade, a collapsible wheelbarrow.

"Everyone should have one of these, they're amazing," he said.

"You wouldn't believe what you can use them for, mine even acts as a supermarket bag carrier."

Murrell likes to dress for the occasion when it comes to gardening.

His modern outfit consists of red trousers, a bright-green jumper, green gumboots and a padded green jacket.

Growing up in Lower Hutt or the "Beverly Hills of Wellington", as Murrell likes to call it, meant he had a large family garden to explore.

It has been 10 years since he first featured on television in the show Garden Wars.

"People get freaked out with those shows and how you can transform a garden in two days but it's pretty easy when you have 200 people helping you," Murrell said.

"It makes me feel like a ringmaster in a circus with a big whip."

Taranaki has the best soil in New Zealand for all sorts of gardening, according to the green-fingered specialist.

"Everything is very sustainable here and you can grow so much more and present it all year round compared to other regions," he said.

There were 180 invited guests at last night's launch for the garden spectacular, to be held from October 26 to November 4.

More than 50 public and private gardens, gardens of significance and special guests will feature in the 10-day festival this year.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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