Pas­sion for peas and paint­ing

The Tribune (NZ) - - GARDENING -

Seven-year-old Gabriella Di Mat­tina’s en­thu­si­asm for gar­den­ing and an eye for art is a win­ning com­bi­na­tion.

Gabriella won the Best Use of Up­cy­cling cat­e­gory in the an­nual Yates Spring Vegie Grow­ing Chal­lenge.

En­ter­ing with her mum Niki Di Mat­tina, the Palmer­ston North young­ster who last year at­tended Whakarongo School,, also took on one of the com­pe­ti­tion’s mini chal­lenges to cre­ate a work of gar­den art from re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als.

In­spired by a school craft pro­ject that made flow­ers out of empty fizzy-drink bot­tles, Gabriella re­fined the idea and im­proved the de­sign so the flow­ers could be eas­ily at­tached and de­tached. Her colour­ful cre­ations now adorn the fam­ily’s bird house.

‘‘It was great fun mak­ing and paint­ing my flow­ers. I did need some help with cut­ting the petals out of the plas­tic bot­tles and screw­ing the flow­ers onto the bird house,’’ Gabriella said. ‘‘I’m just hop­ing the birds don’t get con­fused when they see all my flow­ers.’’

She also ex­celled grow­ing (and eat­ing!) peas, plus let­tuce, tomato, pump­kin, straw­ber­ries and marigolds, go­ing head to head with her mum in a con­test to see who could grow the big­gest car­rots.

Gabriella Di Mat­tina, 7, shows off her award-win­ning gar­den art cre­ated for the an­nual na­tional Yates Spring Vegie Grow­ing Chal­lenge.

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