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NZ Gardener Announces Regional Gardening Role Models

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Fuseworks Media

A Dunedin man who has gifted more than two million daffodil bulbs to be planted around Otago; a South Auckland man on a mission to build up his community, one vege garden at a time; and a blind man from Picton who grows all his family's fruit and vege are among 15 regional winners in the running to win the NZ Gardener 2010 Gardener of the Year.

Dunedinite Les Cleveland has always loved daffodils and over the years, the 80-year-old has donated literally millions of bulbs that are planted in Otago's parks and public spaces as well as 8000 rhododendrons and tens of thousands of cut daffodils to Cancer Society volunteers to sell for the charity's major fundraiser every year.

The Auckland finalist, Otara man Joe Iosefa, wanted to get the kids in his neighbourhood gardening, so he helped local families install their own vege plots. Most of the families he's helped out can't afford their own tools, so every day Joe goes from house to house with a wheelbarrow full of his own tools to tend the gardens. In spring and summer the wheelbarrow's also full of fresh produce which he distributes to his community.

And Marlborough finalist Graham Burtenshaw lost his sight in an accident 15 years ago but made a commitment then that he would always provide fresh produce for his wife and four children. In the raised beds he built himself, he has a system so he can tell what's a plant and what's a weed!

They are some of the 15 regional finalists announced today in NZ Gardener magazine's 2010 Gardener of the Year competition, in association with Mitre 10.

"The line-up of regional finalists is incredible," says NZ Gardener's editor Jo McCarroll. "These are Kiwis doing incredible things and often with almost no recognition. I am so pleased that NZ Gardener can celebrate what these people are doing."

Regional winners receive $1000 worth of gardening products and all winners are now in the running for the supreme prize: $5,000 worth of vouchers to spend at Mitre 10 and a luxury trip for two to the 2011 Ellerslie Flower Show.

The 2010 regional winners are: Barry Mills, Northland; Janet Luke, Hawke's Bay; Graham Burtenshaw, Marlborough; Joe Iosefo, Auckland; Trish Smart, Manawatu and Whanganui; Barbara Forrest, West Coast; Alwyn Seeley, Waikato; Harriet Rei, Taranaki; Alan Jones, Canterbury; Mary Parkinson, Bay of Plenty; Joy Drake, Wellington; Les Cleveland, Otago; Margaret Savage, Gisborne; Robyn Jones, Nelson; Alan and Marilyn Clark, Southland.

How to vote: The supreme winner is awarded by public vote. The 15 regional winners - and official voting form - feature in the October issue of NZ Gardener, on sale now. For full entry details, see www.nzgardener.co.nz

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