Passion for peas and painting
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.