Chiara Cass sort of fell into gardening.
After "30-odd years" as a teacher, she left the education system and decided to volunteer with Friends of the Albury Botanic Gardens.
Now you'll find her almost every Tuesday and Thursday morning carefully helping to tend the plants in the nursery and sharing her knowledge with other volunteers.
Together they re-pot, weed, water (in summer), prune and propagate.
Sales of the nursery plants help fund-raise special projects for the botanic gardens, including a lot of the work that's been done in the children's garden.
But, like everything else, COVID-19 has hampered the group's activities and plant stocks have built up in the nursery.
So this Sunday, December 19, the Friends of the Albury Botanic Gardens will hold a monster plant sale from 11am to 2pm to coincide with Albury Council's Music in the Gardens event, from 12pm.
Chiara says it's a fantastic opportunity to purchase healthy and well-propagated plants at really reasonable prices, while enjoying the ambience of top-class music on the beautifully landscaped grounds.
The fruits of her labours are already spread far and wide around the botanic gardens - and indeed further afield as she happily draws on her teaching background to assist other people with their gardens.
Chiara describes herself as "self-taught", with the roots of her knowledge stemming from her parents, who grew vegies at Griffith in the 1960s and 70s.
"As a child I was always fascinated with plants and I learnt a lot from my father, who was a market gardener," Chiara says.
When it comes to planning a garden, she believes it's important to take the time to literally stop and smell the flowers first.
"You need to take time to think about what you want your garden to do," says Chiara, who has built her garden at Jindera over the past 20 years.
"Do you want it for habitat or shelter, for example? Where is it the hottest, where is it wet and where does the wind come from?"
Among her top tips is "to plant trees thoughtfully", group like-minded plants together and, if you're doing it yourself, complete your garden in sections.
One of Chiara's other pieces of advice is not to rush out and buy everything in advanced size.
"You can get away with tube stock; just put in tree guards and water the first year," she advises.
"Tube stock adjusts to the climate much quicker than something that has been under shade-cloth and carefully watered in a nusery.
"When you take those plants out of their comfort zone they can sulk for two to three years!"
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