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Mucking In

Sundays at 7pm | TV ONE

Episode 8: Rae King

The letter of nomination for Rae says it all: "Rae is a tireless worker for this community who never seems to have a holiday. What she gives comes from a heart of gold, from a woman whose love for people is enormous. She gives of her time, her energy, and survives on a widow's pension only."

Her main 'job' is to manage two Drop-in Centres/Op Shops for those struggling in her community. They are also places for people to share their problems and seek some advice from Rae. Often goods coming in to the centres will be earmarked and given free of charge where Rae knows there's a need. She founded the first one some 20 years ago and now both centres are open Monday to Saturday. Rae works in each centre 1 or 2 days each week, opens and closes them every day, and manages a 40-strong team of volunteers.

Rae gives support to anyone who needs it, especially during times of bereavement, hardship or trouble.

She runs Ezee Meals, as Mt Maunganui does not have its own Meal-on-Wheels service. She cooks the monthly meal for the over 50s in Papamoa East; and co-ordinates with a local florist to send flowers, a card and a candle to those sick and in hospital.

Rae has been a special friend and support of solo mums and their children, having lost her own husband when her sons were only six and eight. Always there to listen - never shocked by what she hears, Rae has become a lifeline for young mothers and "Nana Rae" to their children.

Rae's house is on a busy main road. Richard Greenwood, our landscape architect opted to concentrate on the back garden, being larger and quieter. It was at that time a typical Kiwi back section, although a bit overgrown and neglected - not surprising with Rae always out helping others!

Richard decided that a "sensory garden" would be perfect for Rae as she's so full of life herself. Features for colour, scent, sight, sound, movement and touch would be brought together with a sub-tropical theme suitable for Mt Maunganui.

After some initial demolition and clearing of old sheds and trees, reconstruction began. Where the old shed had been went a top-of-the-range cedarwood hot tub. These are much deeper than spas and look incredibly stylish. To comply with council permits and to make the area safe for the many children visiting Rae, a custom-made powder-coated aluminium fence was installed around the tub. For a tropical look we laid "crunchy" limestone gravel on the ground, and added boulders and a large palm plant.

Whilst we were preparing the site for the hot tub we drilled for and installed a water bore. This would mean that Rae would not have to use metered water for her hot tub or her new irrigation system.

In order to hide another shed, and to replace the existing fencing we used brushstick panels for two sides of the garden, and bamboo panels for another, both products from Brustics which gave an instant natural tropical look to the environment.

Garden beds were marked out in sweeping curves and the space in the middle was laid with Readylawn. Paths were laid with stunning decorative concrete pavers inset with blue glass, and small pavers of the same made borders to the beds.

A gazebo was made using recycled telegraph poles and a thatched roofing kit from Brustics. Again we employed the limestone gravel underfoot, and in the centre some more concrete pavers, this time with paua shell inset. On top of these went a beautiful table made with the same concrete and paua, set onto a base of cream powder coated wrought iron, with chairs to match. It looked fantastic.

The plants were always going to be a massive feature of this garden - as Jim mentions in the programme, the most extravagant plant mix of the series. The variety was breathtaking - plants chosen carefully for structure, foliage, colour, scent, and a tropical style. Before planting we positioned a large number of local quarry boulders to give structure and a colour, which we picked up later with 3 sandstone-coloured pots. We planted bromeliads in the two taller pots, and the crucible was filled with water and water lilies - a very simple idea, but so effective. And for more detail, kenetic sculptures by Sarah Brill were skewered into the ground in groups throughout the garden. These will move in the wind for sensory effect as well as looking 'brill'!

And the icing on the cake: garden lighting throughout to make the garden even more beautiful at night than during the day. Lights to underlight planting, to illuminate trees, to show the way safely around the garden. Lights around the hot tub itself, lights in the gazebo. Not long after Rae returned home to the delights of her new garden, night fell and the garden lights came on. It was a magical sight. Time to get into the hot tub and drift away to the sights, sounds and scents of Rae's tropical oasis. 
Materials and suppliers

Our thanks to all of the following sponsors, without whom Rae's new garden would not have been possible:

Landscape Architect:
Richard Greenwood
Greenwood Design Ltd
Tel: 09-309-3600

Landscaping Contractors:
Landscape Industries Assn of NZ (Inc)
Freephone: 0508-444-345

LIANZ Co-ordinator
Andrew Polglase
Landformers Creative Landscaping
Tel: 07-855-652

Tel: 07-577-6445

Horticultural Services Wanganui Ltd
Tel: 0800-169-263

Ian McHarg
Senior Tutor Landscape
Tel: 07-834-8800, ext 7919

Horticulture Education Centre
Tel: 07-834-8800

Timber and hardware:
25 MacDonald Street
Mt Maunganui
Tel: 07-575-4009

Brushwood and bamboo fencing panels, gazebo roof kit:
Brustics Brushwood Fences Ltd
PO Box 300-566
Tel: 09-478-2260/0800-278-784

Decorative boulders and limestone gravel, basecourse etc:
The Rock Shop
Contact: Craig Schuler
Tel: 07-577-9885

Decorative concrete pavers and table top:
Paving Worx
55 Aviation Avenue
Mt Maunganui
Contact: Lindsay Beck
Tel: 07-572-1557

Excavation and boulder placement (small excavator suitable for tight spaces):
Catch-A-Dingo Services Ltd
Contact: Mike Anselm
Tel: 07-544-2594
Mob: 027-495-0417

Hardfill and green waste removal:
Waste Management Ltd
Tel: 07-577-9440
Mob: 025-322-019

Garden lighting and electrical wiring for hot tub and bore:
Guild & Spence Electrical Ltd
Contact: Ray Guild
Tel: 07-578-3782

Hot Tub:
Colonial Hot Tub Co Ltd
Contact: Simon George
Tel: 0800-468-882

Hot tub installation and maintenance:
The Pool Care Factory
Mt Maunganui
Tel: 07-575-8471

Custom-made fencing (around hot tub):
Aluminium Artistry
Contact: Glenn Wilson
Tel: 07-543-4457

Water bore installation:
Superior Sprinkler Systems
Mt Maunganui
Contact: Steve and Julie Klink
Tel: 07-572-0655

Irrigation system, waste pipe and pump for water bore:
Steve Miller Rural Services Ltd
Contact: Steve Pearce
Tel: 07-578-708

All paint and accessories for the series supplied by:
Resene Paints Ltd
Tel: 0800 RESENE

Hot tub wooden steps: Woodsman Penetrating Oil Stain - "Cedar"

Freight services:
Mainfreight Ltd
Tel: 09-526-0950

See varieties listed and contact your local garden centre.
Landscapers contact:
Milne's Plant Link Ltd
Freephone: 0508 645 637

Trachycarpus fortunei
Hymenosporum flavum
Iresine herbstii
Bourganvillea magnifica trailii
Brachychiton aceriflia
Hymenosporum gold nugget
Trachelospermum jasminoides
Various assorted bromeliads
Trachycarpus fortunei
Various assorted vireyas
Various assorted hemerocallis
Ophioipogon japonicus
Gordonia yunnanensis "Moonlight Magic"
Alocasia "Jungle Green"
Athyrium "Silver Falls"
Athyrium urseulas red
Calocasia "Black Velvet"
Cordyline "Sundance"
Canna "Sunburst"
Mandevillea "Pink Parfait"
Musa cavendish dwarf
Musa super dwarf
Vinca "Illumination"
Beschoneria yuccoides
Heuchera "Amethyst Mist"
Heuchera "Green Spice"
Heuchera "Chocolate Ruffles"
Arthropodium "Matapouri Bay"
Beaucarnea recurvata
Phormium "Platts Black"
Archontophoenix cunninghamiana
Pseudopanax "Cyril Watson"
Phoenix roebelenii
Carica pubescens
Schizolubium parahybum
Cordyline nigra
Portulaca "Hot Spot"

Mulch and planting mix:
All potting mix, soils, barks and mulches for the series supplied by:
Redvale Garden Care Ltd
Tel: 09-232-6885

Turfgrass Specialists Ltd
Contact: Andrew Wallace
Tel: 09-274-0831

Wrought iron gazebo furniture:
Iron Design
12 Dive Crescent
Contact: Roger or Marie
Tel: 07-577-6089

Kinetic sculpture:
Sarah Brill of Artlab
Tel: 027-223-0810

Sandstone planter and water pots:
Sanstone NZ
Contact: Nigel Blackmore
Tel: 09-570-2112

Luxury accommodation for Rae and David in Taupo:
(replicating the luxurious rail travel of the famous Colonial African era)
Caboose Taupo Hotel
100-102 Lake Terrace
Tel: 07-376-0116

Dining for Rae and David in Taupo:
(voted best central North Island restaurant 2002)
The Bach Limited
2 Pataka Road
Lake Terrace
Tel: 07-378-7856

And special thanks to:
Siemens Energy Services Limited in Mt Maunganui, who provided the old hardwood power poles for our gazebo
Tauranga District Council for assistance with permits & inspections