Eclectic collection of gardens goes on show
Oleg Kiriaev’s out-of-control lawns sparked his passion for planting.
Almost 10 years ago the Onehunga doctor was deep in medical training, on call most weekends and didn’t have a spare minute to tend his patch. But a neighbour’s suggestion of hiring someone to mow his lawns got him thinking.
‘‘I mowed it and the ball started rolling from there. Not only did I mow it but I went overboard thinking about what I could do.’’
The 40-year-old is showing off the fruits of his labour in the Heroic Gardens Festival this weekend. The 2014 event will feature 21 gardens from Titirangi to Whitford.
Mr Kiriaev’s gardening roots go back to childhood. Each child in his family had a section of the vegetable garden as their own and he was in charge of the beans.
It is the second year Mr Kiriaev will be showing his garden in the festival. When he first entered, he was finishing off training at Mercy Hospice in 2012.
Knowing the organisation the money helps is a big motivator, he says.
He now divides his time between Totara Hospice and Greenlane Clinical Centre.
‘‘It’s such a privileged area to work in. When a person is at the end of their life the experiences they have will live for their families afterwards. If we have an ability to influence that it can be immensely satisfying.’’
Mr Kiriaev’s garden is now seven years old and shows what can be achieved on a small suburban lot in a fairly short space of time, he says.
He started with a subtropical garden but has since turned to a more ‘‘eclectic’’ selection, and it’s worth the hundreds of dollars he spends on summer water bills.
‘‘One of my friends summed it up when he said: ‘First and foremost, you’re a plant collector. You’re only a gardener because the plants need looking after.’ That’s quite true.’’
Giving back: Doctor Oleg Kiriaev is putting his garden on show to raise money for his past patients.
Private getaway: Mr Kiriaev has transformed his lawn into an oasis.