Grow­ing a town full of veg­gies

South Waikato News - - Front Page -

re­ports on a man’s life in the gar­den.

The peo­ple of Toko­roa will have to go else­where to get plants to grow their five plus a day with avid gar­dener Gra­ham Dun­stall an­nounc­ing his re­tire­ment.

For over 30 years the former Toko­roa North School teacher has sold flower and veg­etable seedlings at his Paraonui St home but on ap­proach­ing his 80th birth­day he’s de­cided to call it a day to spend more time with fam­ily.

Over the years his sec­tion has grown into noth­ing short of a mas­ter­piece which would not seem out of place on the pages of New Zealand House and Gar­den.

With hand-trimmed buxus hedg­ing, man­i­cured lawns, an abun­dance of flow­ers, re­cy­cled con­crete paths, and ma­ture trees the prop­erty is a real pic­ture.

Care­fully tucked down the back is the mas­sive veg­etable gar­den fea­tur­ing two glasshouses filled with grapes, straw­ber­ries, zuc­chini, and sev­eral va­ri­eties of toma­toes. Out­side are rows of pota­toes, let­tuce, cauliflower, broc­coli, and cab­bage.

Dun­stall, who spends five to six hours every day work­ing in his gar­den, said he will miss the so­cial side of sell­ing his seedlings which he said started off as noth­ing more than a hobby.

‘‘Grow­ing a few plants was a hobby which I took down to Bryan’s Plant Shop in Bridge St to sell,’’ he said.

‘‘Over the years it grew and grew and I had more and more peo­ple com­ing to buy plants so I put a sign out on the road.’’

‘‘I’ve had cus­tomers com­ing back year af­ter year and not only would they buy a few plants we would have a bit of a talk and pass the time of the day.’’

‘‘Peo­ple would come to ask ques­tions about grow­ing things and from time to time they’d bring a sam­ple of some­thing and ask what was wrong with it and how they could fix it. I also vis­ited places and ad­vised where to put gar­dens and what to grow.’’

‘‘I en­joyed help­ing peo­ple and I will prob­a­bly miss that con­tact but it’s just be­come too much for me now,’’ he said.

He en­cour­aged younger gen­er­a­tions to take up gar­den­ing which he said he will still con­tinue to do on a smaller scale.

‘‘A lot of peo­ple say you can’t have a gar­den in Toko­roa be­cause it can be fairly harsh in the win­ter but I say come and have a look at my gar­den be­cause you can, you just have to se­lect the right kinds of plants and have a good sit­u­a­tion for them,’’ he said.

‘‘You don’t need a very big spot for a gar­den so my part­ing words are to en­cour­age chil­dren to take up gar­den­ing. It doesn’t re­quire a lot of time, 10 to 15 min­utes a day is enough to take care of things,’’ he said.

‘‘I en­joyed help­ing peo­ple and I will prob­a­bly miss that con­tact.’’ Gra­ham Dun­stall


Gra­ham Dun­stall is re­tir­ing from sell­ing plant seedlings from his Toko­roa home af­ter more than 30 years.

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