EXPERIENCED GARDENER: Pam Boughen has spent decades perfecting her skills.
EXPERIENCED GARDENER: Pam Boughen has spent decades perfecting her skills. Adam McCleery

Finding bliss in garden hideaway

PAM Boughen has had 55 years to work out just what it is she enjoys most about gardening and has focused on just that.

"My favourite thing about gardening is the vegetable garden and being able to have fresh grown vegetables to eat and also share," Mrs Boughen said.

"I give some to the Gunther Village and friends, as well as pot plants and flowers which is what I find most fulfilling."

Mrs Boughen has used her decades of experience in the garden to perfect what works best for her property and her own tastes.

"I learn a lot through trial and error over the years. We have tried other fruit trees like custard apples out here but there was just too much frost and they would die," Mrs Boughen said.

Back when her kids were still living at home, the garden had an added element with the extra hands to work.

"When our three kids were little we used to plough up all the back part of the property for veggies like pumpkins and tomatoes," Mrs Boughen said.

"Unfortunately we can't do that any more with just me and my husband here and the water to maintain it would be too expensive," she said.

"Back then we used to have a big hoe and a small hoes for the kids to use and we would grow shallots with the pumpkin and sell them to the shops, it was a fun thing to do as a family."

Since moving out of home, Mrs Boughen's children have carried on her love of gardening.

"They are really into gardening even today, my two daughters down in the bay definitely are," Mrs Boughen said.

"One daughter has a big yard, about an acre, she has beautiful shrubs and plants all around," she said.

"She is a really good gardener, probably better than me."

Mr Boughen tried to rectify the water issues to having the whole back end of the yard ploughed by constructing a bore.

"We used to have a tap out here years ago too. When we tried putting down the bore, the water wasn't any good it was too salty I think," Mrs Boughen said.

When they moved into the house 55 years ago, Mr and Mrs Boughen went to work on the yard.

"My husband laid all the cement for the driveway years ago and I have been working on the garden and my gardening pretty much ever since," Mrs Boughen said.

"There's a bit of everything here now from flower to vegetables, pot plants and so on," she said.

"We always found we had a knack for gardening especially after we moved here to live."

The biggest challenge Mrs Boughen faces is something common for the area.

"The challenge is the amount of water and work it takes to keep my garden maintained," Mrs Boughen said.

"You could spend a half a day every day out here and still not get too far ahead."

Variety is something that Mrs Boughen seeks in her garden.

"I have some chickens here too, I've been raising chickens for years and years and we've just had to put mesh all over the top of their coop because foxes were coming in and eating them," Mrs Boughen said.

"I lost quite a few chickens to the fox so I have about 18 in there now and they are good, they eat all the green stuff along the fence so their eggs are basically free range." A touch of classical gardens is something Mrs Boughen has actively added to hers.

"We also have some old-fashioned plants that my mother-in-law gave to us years ago, they come over the place and create a nice hedge," she said.

"We have been growing passionfruit above the chicken coop and they have been coming out all right and we have mulberries over next to a new pear tree we are trying to grow."

Mrs Boughen also likes to find more than one way to get the best out of her garden.

"I make mulberry jam out of what I can grow and also tarts from the oranges," Mrs Boguhen said.

"Everything tastes better when it's fresh like that."

While Mrs Boughen isn't an active member of any gardening groups, it doesn't mean she will shy away from sharing ideas.

"I swap plants or cuttings with other keen gardeners and we sometimes have tips for each other," Mrs Boughen said.

"My daughter down the bay has got stacks of bonsai trees and has given me one along with some tips on how to grow it," she said.

"I still find myself learning news things, it gives you great pleasure when you see them grow ok and come out looking pretty."

When talking about any challenges she face sin her garden, Mrs Boughen goes back to the issue of water and knowing how to use it effectively.

"Any rain we get is a godsend and has a positive impact on my garden" Mrs Boughen said.

"With this garden I've always got a fair bit to do."

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