Bill Barker

I was always interested in gardening. However in Denver, Colorado it is a part time hobby. The ground freezes a metre deep for six months. What a joy it was to visit Australia where the climate makes gardening a year long event. I still always remember the visits to Wilsons Promontory and the rainbow lorikeets in the banksias. In 1988 we moved to Victoria and after a short spell took a journey around Oz for six months … a mind blowing experience to be sure. For example, standing in the heathland near the Stirling Ranges and being able to count about thirty different plant species just around your feet … wow!! To say I was hooked on the flora would be an understatement.

Maths and languages never were my strong points so I leave the Latin to those who can pronounce it. I’m more of a digger and planter. My partner, Bee, tells me what it is, where to put it, how deep, etc.

We bought a small house on a big block in Keilor that had a large Lemon Gum out the back and a lot of concrete all over. We kept the gum and got rid of the concrete and started doing our thing to create a garden for birds. Then Bee saw a SGAP notice at the Essendon Plant Farm and we went to a meeting. What a find! Great people and they speak beautiful Latin (at least some do … and some don’t so I fit right in). Then Bee saw a notice for a tree growing scheme so I joined that and now grow trees for Landcare and friends. Then we helped form a group to be Friends of Taylors Creek where we love to walk. So now after twelve years in Oz and about nine years with the Keilor Plains group I can honestly say it has been a marvellous experience. We have an almost completely native garden with lorikeets in our banksias and at least thirty five species of birds visiting on a regular basis. The group obviously doesn’t know about my maths problem because they made me treasurer!!

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