ray-kingWhere were you born and where did you spend most of your childhood?
I was born in Wales and came to New Zealand when I was 4 so I am really a Kiwi!

Where do you live now?
Peter and I live in Palazzo Lane in Riccarton right next to Hagley Park South.

What aroused your interest in gardening or horticulture?
Gardening was just a part of my childhood. My father was in the Navy and spent most of his time away but my earliest recollections were of Mum doing the gardening and us kids eating veges from our own garden. Star Seeds used to run school gardening competitions and I remember winning an award for my silverbeet, that must have been over 60 years ago but I still remember how proud I was of that silverbeet! Since then whenever possible we have always had some sort of garden even trying to grow kumara from peelings in a pot on our balcony in Singapore.

What gardening or horticultural interests do you have now?
Now of course I chair the Horticulture Events committee at the CHS where we try to bring a range of interesting horticultural events for our own members and for members of the public. We also have a small but productive inner city garden. We like to grow as many of our own veges as possible in such a small place and have many grafted fruit trees so we usually have something fresh to use, at the moment we are picking our own limes!

What’s your favourite plant and why?
I can’t say that I have a particular favourite plant but I love anything that brings the birds and bees into my garden. At the moment the birds are finishing off the last of the crab apples and the bees are enjoying the little yellow chrysanthemums that are still flowering.

What’s been your most challenging and/or rewarding gardening project ?
When we first moved into our home here in Christchurch 13 years ago, the garden had just been put in by a well-known landscape gardener. The previous owners had not wanted any flowers just a structured garden of different tones of green and grey so in the intervening years we have slowly changed this without losing the overall structure of the original plan. We now have roses climbing along the walls, fruit trees where grey toned olive trees stood and pots of colourful annuals to brighten up the garden.

When did you join the CHS and why?
I joined the CHS about 10 years ago. Ruth Bird rang me one day when I was president of Ikebana International and suggested that I join the CHS Garden Reps committee, I did and here I am.

What is your passion for the future of the CHS?
The CHS has a wonderful opportunity to help Christchurch to once again become the garden city. Not just a city of pretty garden beds but a city with a vibrant environment for us all to live in. I want to see more native trees planted to bring back all the lovely birds. Nut trees and fruit trees so people can enjoy their beauty at all times of the year, blossoms in Spring, shade in Summer, produce and beautiful leaves in Autumn and their stark beauty in Winter.

By joining forces with other active groups such as Edible Canterbury we have the chance of changing our environment for the better and help make Christchurch a truly “Liveable City”.