Marilyn Kepple tends people and plants. As a community counsellor with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, she knows the value of regular exercise—and gardening enables her to help both her yard and her children to flourish.

“We get out of the house to do gardening together,” said Marilyn, who has four children aged between 13 and 21.

“I feel it helps promoting exercise and good health for me and my family.”

Marilyn joined POP in March 2013, after moving to a new home with a yard that needed some TLC.

“My garden was looking bare and I found it hard to get time to order plants to do my gardening,” she said. “We had no shady area outside to spend time together as a family, until the pergola was built.”

With the assistance of POP, she transformed her garden and was so happy with the results that she entered the Best Garden in the Village Competition (BGITV) last year—and won the award for “Most Improved” garden. This year, she was determined to do even better.

Both her younger sons, Trey and Dylan, were away at boarding school in Cairns, but she recruited her two eldest children, who both work locally, to assist her in their spare time. Son, Lionel, did the mowing, while daughter, Courtney, helped to tidy up the property.

Marilyn planted fruit trees in the backyard and added additional plants, including a rose bush, to the front garden. Bird statues, with planters attached, were the finishing touches.

The results were a blooming success and Marilyn was awarded the runner-up prize for “Best Garden” in Coen.

She already has plans to further enhance her garden.

“I want to purchase outdoor furniture and get some lattice for a bit of privacy around my pergola,” she said. “I will continue doing my garden up, so it is a lovely, relaxing place to be.”

And yes, she will definitely be signing up for next year’s Best Garden in the Village competition.