Eclec­tic collection of gar­dens goes on show

Central Leader - - NEWS - By LAUREN PRI­EST­LEY

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.

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