Recently, ITC had the pleasure of meeting Keith and Maureene, aka The Propagating Gardener, at their Lane Cove home.
Keith and Maureene, a retired couple, are avid gardeners and propagators. Keith constantly laughs and cracks jokes, while Maureene entertains with ease (she even tracked down ITC’s favourite lamingtons). Maureene is also a breast cancer survivor. Keith and Maureene have lived in Lane Cove for 27 years. They lived in Nundah Street and then relocated to Parklands Avenue. Most retired couples look to downsize, not Keith and Maureene: they upsized to a bigger garden.
In March 2011 they opened their garden to the public under the Australian Open Garden Scheme and during the open garden they sold some plants they had propagated to the public. The proceeds from the Australian Open Garden Scheme and the plant sales were donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF).
They opened their garden again in October 2011 and realised that growing and selling plants was what they enjoyed the most. So since 2011, every April and October Keith and Maureene hold a Huge Plant Sale, selling the plants propagated in the previous 6 – 12 months with all proceeds going to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Each year they raise about $8000 for breast cancer research.
Pardon the pun, but the Huge Plant Sale keeps growing each year. In 2016 there will be 1500 plants for sale and over 300 varieties. Even if you have visited the Huge Plant Sale before, ITC recommends you visit again. Keith likes to mix it up and you never know what you will find in his garden!!!
There is something for everyone:
- Small Trees
- Fig Trees
- Native Plants
The prices range from $2.00 to $20.00 – the average plant price is around $5.00.
Organising a charity plant sale is not for the faint-hearted, Keith works 40 hours a week propagating and tending to his plants. On plant sale day they work non-stop from the moment they get up. By the end of the day, they are exhausted and their feet ache, but the pain is worth it knowing they have raised money for breast cancer research. They could not hold the sale, without the help of their grandchildren, who travel up from Bawley Point each sale to help them.
Keith is a propagating guru. If you’re looking for a particular type of plant he will do his best to track it down for you. If you want to discuss the possibility of a particular plant being propagated: just email him. Any sale proceeds he makes, in between their huge plant sales, will also be donated to NBCF.
Since ITC was in the presence of a gardening great, we asked Keith for a few tips for Lane Cove Gardeners:
- It’s all about the soil. Feed your soil regularly with compost and organic matter.
- If you want to know what grows well, take a walk around neighbouring streets. If you see a plant growing well that is the type of plant you should buy.
- Don’t try and plant a cold climate garden in Lane Cove – it won’t work.
- If you’re really keen join a garden club. Lane Cove does not have a garden club, Keith and Maureen are members of the Kuringgai Horticultural Society
These are just a few plants ITC saw in Keith and Maureene’s garden.
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