Award-winning garden blossoms from silt
Instead of hanging up his shovel the third time his garden was ruined by liquefaction, Alan Scott planted flowers in the silt.
Since then, the 78-year-old Avondale resident's award-winning flowers have bloomed, and he is taking pride in "brightening up" a suburb severely affected by the earthquake.
Scott has recently been awarded a Community Pride Garden Award, from the Christchurch Beautifying Association.
The prize is just the latest in his string of gardening accolades he has received every year - except 2011 due to the earthquakes - since he retired 13 years ago.
Green-thumbed Scott had "always had a garden of some sort" since his retirement in 2001. It was "at its peak" shortly before the earthquakes, when he had accumulated over 150 specimens in containers, hanging baskets and planter bags and boxes. A great deal more were in the soil.
After February 22, 2011, Scott's property was inundated with 10-12 centimetres of silt. It ruined "nearly all of the garden", and completely wiped out his front lawn. He dug it over with the intention of planting a new lawn in the spring, but the garden took a further hit in June when more silt was deposited on the property. The same happened in the December 2011 aftershocks.
Instead of giving up altogether, Scott transformed his sodden lawn into an extension of his garden and set about revitalising the plot.
About 50 per cent of his garden is now growing in liquefaction."It's quite amazing really," he said.Scott, who has been living at the Eglinton St house for 47 years with his wife, said he was glad to be "brightening up the place, to keep it looking nice".
However, the garden will face destruction at least once more, when the foundations on Scott's house undergo repairs in the near future.
While he knows the garden is only temporary, he said the pioneering gardening feat was important for the community as houses are brought down around him and his neighbours deal with costly repairs.
"It is amazing what will grow in pure silt as long as it has sufficient water," he said.
"I'm really pleased with it."