MEET A LOCAL, SPRING SERIES
From planting pawpaw to years of happy gardening, Narooma's Brian Tilley says constant surprises and joy will forever be in his backyard.
His passion for plants started with pawpaw. Mr Tilley was living in Nigeria when he planted his first seeds.
"I planted some pawpaw and watched them come up and reach maturity," he said.
"Within three months, we were harvesting fruit - I thought it was great!"
From then on, gardening became a huge part of Mr Tilley's life. His mother was also a keen green thumb who had a beautiful garden at Long Beach, Batemans Bay.
"Maybe it's hereditary," he said.
Mr Tilley loves the diversity, colours and textures of plants.
"I like growing everything from fruit and veg to flowers," he said.
"I am particularly keen on flowers, having an English background."
Mr Tilley has a covered veggie patch and an eclectic garden, 90 percent cottage-garden themed, where he spends about five hours a day.
"Most of my time I spend in the garden, the rest I have wasted," he chuckled.
"I love my garden for the beauty and joy it provides, for the challenges it throws up and for the opportunity of physical work it provides - no need to go to the gym!"
Mr Tilley values his organic produce and the chance to express his creativity. At the age of 76, he realises there may be a time he has to downsize.
You can surround yourself with beautiful plants no matter the size of your garden ... beauty can exist in small thingsBrian Tilley
"I would be lost without a garden of some sort, although as I get older I realise that there will come a time when I will have to reduce the size," he said.
"This doesn't worry me, as I know you can surround yourself with beautiful plants no matter the size of your garden, even if it is a few pots. Beauty can exist in small things."
Favourite plant right now? The clivia - it's a bulb and is a dazzling orange in the evening light. You can also get cream or red.
Gardening advice? Plant things that you love. Follow your vision of what will make you happy. Learn and be inquisitive as well and just go for it.
Quotes or a motto you stick by? We might think we are nurturing our garden but of course it's our garden that is nurturing us. To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow
To get in touch with Mr Tilley and other gardeners, share photos, problems or advice, join his Facebook group - Garden Lovers Far South Coast NSW.