Dot Ford with her beautiful roses that she waters every morning.
Dot Ford with her beautiful roses that she waters every morning. Philippe Coquerand

Having good soil is vital to a garden

THROUGH triumph and adversity, gardening has thrown everything at Dot Ford.

However, she has never given up and in fact she describes it as her passion.

"I've always been a big lover of gardens, even having garden parties here over the years,” Mrs Ford said.

"But when the 2013 floods came it washed a lot of it away so I had to start all over again.”

It was a difficult time as everything was destroyed.

"I haven't got quite as much as I used to before the floods hit but what I have now, it's a lot easier to maintain and to look after,” Mrs Ford said.

"I just love flowers and pot plants and I just think it's good for your health. If you're feeling down, you just go out to your garden and start feeling better, it's really therapeutic.”

"Sometimes I say I'll just go out for 10 minutes and water the plants, and a few hours later I'm still there.”

There are many benefits that gardening can have on yourself.

"It's good to be out in the sunlight, it provides you with the much needed vitamin D,” Mrs Ford said.

"You forget all about your worries and you just do things besides just staying indoors all the time.”

She said she does have her favourites among her plants.

"I love quite a few plants but my favourite would have to be gerberas and roses,” Mrs Ford said.

"You have annuals that you can only plant a certain time of the year, the succulents and cacti they grow all year round and I like ornaments and orchids.”

Gardening takes quite a bit of time and patience, she said.

"Well first of all you have to have good soil, we have river loam which is not clay or anything, it's very good drainage which a lot of plants like,” Mrs Ford said.

"It needs plenty of water and plenty of fertiliser when it's good drainage like river loam.

"You can just dig up this whole area and it's easy digging which is good for planting and gardening.”

Living in the North Burnett can have its challenges, Mrs Ford said.

"I've lost quite a few gerberas a few years ago with our water as it was a bit salty,” she said.

"The plants didn't like the water and as a result we lost the majority of them which was a huge shame.

"I've started watering all my gerberas and my pot plants with tank water because the river water didn't work and I've found using tank water is helping a lot.”

Most days will be spent in the garden ensuring all plants are well looked after.

"I won't water the plants everyday, in the summer time they'll get watered every second day but in the winter time they probably only need it twice a week,” Mrs Ford said.

"I have a mixture of plants in the garden from petunias, daisies, gerberas, flocks, succulents, orchids and I also have the Star of David.

"The Star of David has a little flower on it which makes you think it could be a religious thing.”

Mrs Ford imparted some advice for those thinking about gardening.

"A lot of people say they can't grow gerberas but most of mine are in pots because of the floods,” Mrs Ford said.

"It's easy to over water the flowers and as a result they rot very quickly and having good drainage helps immensely.

"I get river loam, potting mix, I get some soil and I mix it all together in a big wheelbarrow and that's what I use for my potting mixes.

"Those roses I had in pots when the flood hit the Burnett and they all got washed and flooded.”

One of the highlights from gardening is showing the community the finished product.

"I love taking part in the shows and putting some of my plants up on display,” Mrs Ford said.

"I didn't enter any this year because I've been away but I get a big thrill and have won many champions with my flowers.”

Gardening is rewarding, she said.

"Everyone should have a go at gardening, it's not hard and I bet you'll end up loving it,” Mrs Ford said.

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