Gardening runs in the family

Category: Families

Congratulations to Roy and Shirley Hunter who were the 2016 winners of the ‘Best Villa Garden’ in the Bupa Gardening Competition.

Roy and Shirley garden

Roy and Shirley Hunter with their 'Best Villa Garden' award. Source: Mike Bain, Fairfax Media

Originally from Auckland, Roy and Shirley followed their son and his family to Cambridge. They moved into Bupa St Kilda Retirement Village in December 2015. When they arrived there were a few shrubs around their villa, so Shirley had plenty of scope to develop the garden further. 

One feature in their garden is the ‘Potway to Heaven’, which is filled with succulents. Roy is quite handy and had made one before. The benefit is it’s quite compact and fits into a corner of the garden nicely. A side plot of the garden houses some of Shirley’s favourite plants and a small kiwi sculpture sits perched above. Shirley says, “This was a present from overseas friends, which is a nice reminder of our friendship”.

Roy and Shirley garden

When deciding on what to plant, Shirley wanted permanent colourful plants that are frost resistant and would suit a colder climate plant. Some of her favourite plants are heuchera’s and azalea’s. Gardening runs in the family.

Shirley enjoys gardening and she worked in a plant nursery for several years growing ferns.

Her garden is a mixture of annual and perennial plants and Roy helps out with the heavy gardening jobs and enjoys watching Shirley work in the garden.

As winners of the ‘Best Villa Garden’ their prize was some gardening vouchers. This is perfect for Shirley as she is now busy planning what to plant for the next season.


The annual Bupa Gardening Competition is open to all residents at our 36 Bupa Retirement Villages throughout the country. You can work on your own garden or get together with other residents to transform a communal space.

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