Episode 3: Elaine Simons
For the past 10 years, helping kids with kidney disease has been Elaine's mission. Although a registered nurse with a husband with kidney problems, nothing prepared Elaine for the shock and despair of having first one child and then a second diagnosed with kidney disease. Once she found her way, she realized how crucial support and information are for parents who find themselves in the same situation, trying to care long-term for sometimes very sick children.
Elaine created the Kidney Kids organization herself in between her nursing job and coping with her own children's needs. Elaine herself would spend several hours most nights on the phone supporting distressed parents. Most days see her visiting sick children at Auckland Starship hospital. The highlight for many of these children is the annual Kidney Kids camp, where 40 children with renal failure from throughout NZ get together for a two-day camp. All this is initiated and largely organized by Elaine.
As for gardening? Forget it. A very busy lady who would love to have a garden to be proud of, but whose priorities don't allow time or energy to do anything about it. Mucking In felt Elaine more-than deserved something lovely to look at on those days when it all seems a bit much.
The house is on a rear section with little space around it - the 'garden' is really only a place for a washing line and dog run. A small deck crammed with a table, chairs and barbeque. The lack of space and vista gave landscape architect Richard Greenwood a real challenge. He opted to create a sunken deck between the levels of the existing deck, creating a much larger entertainment area and in essence making the usable outdoor area far bigger. He chose a narrow-gauge eucalypt for the deck - a striking-looking and renewable source of timber.
Our team of LIANZ landscapers had a mammoth task to work with the eucalypt, but their expertise and hard work triumphed at the end, and the deck looked amazing. To make a visual focal point we commissioned Larry Galbraith to make a huge water wall in galvanized iron. To keep the 'industrial' theme going we used (of all things!) concrete cesspits to make planter pots and a bird bath, and made deck furniture from more eucalypt with waterproof squabs. And of course a shade sail - Elaine is a nurse after all.
Elaine had speculated longingly about a swimming pool. But there just wasn't enough room. So Spa International came to our aid with a large and stylish cedar-walled spa pool - some water therapy not only for the children, but for Elaine too.
The finishing touches were new flower beds - one at the entrance, and the rest all through the new area - shrubs with striking foliage for low-maintenance beauty in keeping with the property. And of course some more turf - where would we be without Readylawn - the dogs would never have forgiven us!
Elaine came back from Hotel du Vin singing the praises of their spa pool. She couldn't believe her eyes when she saw her new garden complete with her very own!
To Contact Kidney Kids
[for help or to contribute]:
Kidney Kids of NZ Support Group Inc
Freepost Kidney Kids
PO Box 13-732
To donate $20 to Kidney Kids
Tel: 0900 KEEWEE [0900-533-933]
Materials and suppliers
Our thanks to all of the following sponsors, without whom Elaine's new garden would not have been possible:
Greenwood Design Ltd
Landscape Industries Assn of NZ (Inc)
Freephone: 0508-444-345 Email: email@example.com
Landscape Transformations Ltd
Brett Garea Environments
Laurensen Landscape Design
Natural Habitats Ltd
Terragona Landscape Contractors
Warwick Price Landscaping
Timber and hardware:
481 Pakuranga Hwy
Eucalpt decking timber:
St Lukes Timber 1995 Ltd
10 Morningside Drive
Basecourse, pavers, sand, cement:
W Stevenson & Sons
Iron water 'wall':
Clarrie Galbraith & Son Ltd
Pipes and fittings for water feature:
Water Dynamics Ltd
84-86 Franklin Road
Weatherproof squabs for patio seating:
Classic Upholstery 1996 Ltd
Tel: 09 274 4465
0800 Sunshade Ltd (nationwide)
Tel: 0800 SUNSHADE
All paint and accessories for the series supplied by:
Resene Paints Ltd
Tel: 0800 RESENE
Deck stain: Woodsman "Banjul" WD004
Deck steps: Lumbersider "Woodbark"
For solutions to your painting dilemmas, ask Resene's Paint Doctor at homeandgarden.nzoom.com
Turfgrass Specialists Ltd
Kwik Kerb Eastern Suburbs
Tel: 09-536-5662 [a/h]
Concrete cesspits (planters and
Humes Pipeline Systems
Milnes Plant Link Ltd
Pittosporum Oliver Twist
Mulch and planting mix:
All potting mix, soils, barks and mulches for the series supplied by:
Redvale Garden Care Ltd
Green Acres Waste Bins Auckland
Luxury accommodation and dinner for Elaine and
Hotel du Vin