Phil and Annette's slice of paradise

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Moving into a house with a rich 130-year history, Phil and Annette Irvine have enhanced its heritage charm by surrounding it with a thriving and colourful garden.

The couple moved in six years ago and learnt about the building’s history from its previous owner.

What was once a dust bowl has now been filled with flowers, hearty foliage and pops of colour using upcycled items. 

“We’ve lived here for six years and there were only a few trees remaining on the property when we moved in,” Annette said.

“They had bulldozed almost everything out, even grass had to be planted.”

A large poinciana tree features in the front garden which was planted by the previous owner when the 130-year-old house was relocated from Hazards Corner 30 years ago.

“Some early hours of the morning, they brought the house all the way up Telegraph Road and plunked it here,” Phil said.

“We said to her, why did you put it on this angle? She said she just loved that angle looking out.”

“I love the big poinciana because its colourful and we get so many lovely birds,” Annette said.

The couple said they started gardening after they got married, which was 55 years ago and now find themselves out in the garden daily.

“We wanted something that was easy to look after and as it progressed, we kept making more gardens and putting more things in, we just love it,” Annette said.

“We are in the garden every day, start early in the morning around 7:30 until around 9 o’clock,” Phil said.

One section of the yard in particular holds a special place in Annette and Phil’s heart, which was named John’s Garden.

“John was our neighbour that suffered a heart attack,” Phil said.

“He would sit on the porch with us and overlook the garden, he also was the one to introduce us to computers.”

Daughter Natalie said she has seen the garden constantly evolve and she isn’t the only one that has noticed, with passers-by always stopping to compliment the garden.

“They’ve been watching mum and dad do the garden up for years,” Natalie said.

“We’ve dubbed it the Botanical Gardens of Bundaberg East because it’s so rich and lovely.”

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