Richard Corndale in his garden at Calliope.
Richard Corndale in his garden at Calliope. HELEN SPELITIS

In my garden: It's like watching children grow

RICHARD Cornale's garden is actually a huge shade house that sits on half an acre behind his Calliope home.

His passion for plants makes it easy to see why he is the Calliope Garden Club president.

How long have you been gardening?

Most of my life. My wife was the more serious gardener when we met. Hers were more ornamental and my family was more to feed our faces with - veges and stuff.

I started seriously gardening in about 1994 when my health declined. So for me it's a way of relaxing.

You've obviously fallen in love. What is it that makes you so passionate?

It's watching them grow. They're like kids. It's just such a cheery spot to come to on a gloomy day.

They're always smiling at you - always happy.

How many plants do you have and how many varieties?

Hundreds of varieties and thousands of plants. Maybe 15,000?

How many hours a day do you spend in here?

Three or four days up here, six hours a day.

Do you have a favourite plant?

There are many favourites. Telanganas (a type of Bromeliad) and the orchids have become quite favourable.

There's no such thing as the best one. I love bromeliads, orchids and general foliage.

What's your latest project?

I would like to complete the shade house. I have the floor to finish and I am afraid I am going to have to extend it because it's not quite big enough.