News | Toowoomba

Audrey’s love of gardening is blooming marvellous

For decades, Audrey Peters’ award-winning gardens have been the talk of the town in Toowoomba, home of the famous Carnival of Flowers. Now, the remarkable 91 year-old is still showing off her green thumb. The garden in her new home at Seachange Toowoomba is a riot of colourful blooms and has captured the attention and admiration of residents and visitors alike. Even her roses are coming into bud much earlier than expected. Audrey’s tiny garden is such an inspiration that Seachange implemented its own gardening competition with Audrey taking out the inaugural first prize.

The self-taught gardener discovered her passion for flowers when she left school as a 13 year-old and went to work as babysitter and household help for a farming family in the area. “In my spare time there was nothing to do so I asked if I could make a garden. I wasn’t interested in veggies or anything but I loved to grow flowers,” she said. As an 18 year-old bride, Audrey and her husband went dairy farming and then ran a poultry farm with 5000 chooks. The couple had four children and Audrey now has 12 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren. Her passion for cottage gardens, brimming with romantic wisteria, ranunculi, violas, pansies and snapdragons, really took off when the couple retired and moved into a new home on a half acre block close to town.

“My husband and I created that garden and we did all the work ourselves. Sometimes I don’t know how we did it because it was a big job and we had to clear out a lot of rocks. “There was a story going around that I had four men working for me,” Audrey laughed. The results were so spectacular that Audrey’s daughter Jenny secretly nominated the garden in the Carnival of Flowers country gardens competition. “I didn’t know anything about it until the judges rang me up and said they were coming out to judge my garden. There was a bit of a rush to get ready but it really did look beautiful,” she said. That was the start of a winning streak with Audrey taking out top prize four years in a row and her garden becoming a favourite stop for local tourist busses. “It was fantastic for me at the time. When I see photos of the garden I think to myself how on earth did I ever do that.”

Today, Audrey spends most of her time in her garden, when she isn’t doing her own housework or joining in with her neighbours in a raft of community activities. “Moving to Seachange was the best thing I have ever done,” Audrey said. “All the people are very nice and my neighbour looks after me. I could throw in the sponge in but they keep me going…along with my garden.”Ingenia Lifestyle Garden