Gar­dener’s legacy a grow­ing suc­cess

The Weekend Post - - News - PETER CAR­RUTHERS peter.car­[email protected]

THE life of celebrity gar­dener Kim Mor­ris will be re­mem­bered at the Chi­nese Friend­ship Gar­den he helped de­sign on Mon­day next week. The land­scape de­signer and

Cairns Post gar­den colum­nist died on Wed­nes­day morn­ing after los­ing an ex­tended bat­tle with lym­phoma.

Trib­utes from col­leagues in the gar­den in­dus­try re­mem­ber the 68-year-old as a trail­blaz­ing green thumb who was an in­no­va­tor whose en­cour­ag­ing and en­gag­ing na­ture was re­garded as his big­gest strength.

Michael Casey of the Aus­tralian In­sti­tute of Hor­ti­cul­ture de­scribed the Cairns­based hor­ti­cul­tur­ist as the “back­bone of the Aus­tralian In­sti­tute of Hor­ti­cul­ture (AIH) since 2006”. The Queens­land pres­i­dent of the Hor­ti­cul­tural Me­dia As­so­ci­a­tion of Aus­tralia, Kim Rab­bidge, told the

Cairns Post Mr Mor­ris had an “in­sa­tiable ap­petite for knowl­edge and a deep love of ev­ery­thing hor­ti­cul­tural”.

“He in­spired all he came in con­tact with. He was ir­rev­er­ent and witty . . . and there has been an amaz­ing num­ber of peo­ple he has touched in all ar­eas of hor­ti­cul­tural in­dus­try,” she said.

His brother Mark re­mem­bers him as hav­ing a dry wit that some­times did of­fend.

“To this day I can’t work out why he had so many friends who love him. It’s truly amaz- ing,” he said. Kim Mor­ris was born and grew up in Syd­ney and be­gan pro­fes­sional life as a food in­dus­try sales­man.

He came to Cairns when he was about 20 for a hol­i­day and rang his boss from the Far North to say he would not be re­turn­ing to Syd­ney. He lived in Queens­land ever since.

In the early days of his trop­i­cal im­mer­sion Mr Mor­ris started up a nurs­ery at Clifton Beach spe­cial­is­ing in all kinds of bougainvil­lea, which at the time was his favourite plant.

He worked and lived at the North­ern Beaches for 20 years.

Mr Mor­ris never mar­ried and never had chil­dren. He is sur­vived by sis­ter Kerry and brothers Jay and Mark.

A pri­vate fam­ily fu­neral has been re­quested, but Mayor Bob Man­ning has granted the use of the Chi­nese Friend­ship Gar­den on Greenslopes Street in Cairns North, which Mr Mor­ris helped de­sign, for a pub­lic ser­vice.

Well-wish­ers from across the coun­try are ex­pected to at­tend on Mon­day from 3-5pm.

Mr Casey of the AIH said: “It was an hon­our work­ing along­side Kim and (I) sin­cerely hope his legacy will con­tinue to pro­vide strength, en­ergy and in­spi­ra­tion to all in our in­sti­tute and the in­dus­try broadly”.

He was the driv­ing force be­hind the cre­ation of the Reg­is­tered Hor­ti­cul­tur­ist pro­gram and he was re­spon­si­ble for the ne­go­ti­a­tion and sign­ing of the first me­moran­dum with Sin­ga­pore Na­tional Parks Board.

TRAIL­BLAZER: Far North gar­den­ing ex­pert Kim Mor­ris.

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