THIS week we chat to health professional Helen Crocker about her tropical garden.

Name: Helen Crocker.

Occupation: Health professional.

How would you describe your garden?

Tropical. I love ferns and palms and when we moved here four-and-a-half-years ago I knew I only had a small space to work with.

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It has taken time but a nice canopy has grown over the garden which means when it is hot outside it is always nice and cool under the canopy, when it is cold the garden is warm.

When the rest of the world goes crazy I just come in here to shut it all out.

Why put in so much effort?

I always wanted a tropical garden. A garden is a bit like children.

You plant them, nurture them and watch them grow always knowing one day you will have to let them go.

I will be leaving my garden behind in September because we are moving to Burnett Heads.

Helen Crocker has made the most of a small space in her garden.
Helen Crocker has made the most of a small space in her garden. Helen Spelitis

I will be sad to leave my staghorn - he is the pride and joy of my garden. But it will be a new beginning and the start of building a new dream in a new climate.

It will be closer to the sea so the plants will need to be hardier.

How have you found the soil in West Gladstone?

People say you can't garden here, but you can and this is a good example of making use of a small space.

Most of it comes from Benaraby Garden Centre. I don't think I would have been able to create such a lovely garden without their help.

I think the trick to gardening is to be compatible with your garden, grow what suits the garden and space.

What have been your main challenges?

Well, when we came here we could see all the white sails from Stockland shopping centre car park.

It was my goal to block them out. The area in the backyard was to be tropical garden number two, we planted palms and ferns and now you can't see the sails.



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