GARDEN: Passion for the job

Christmas and New Year are now out of the way and most people are probably at the beach or on holidays so there are probably very few of you who would even be reading this article, or have the slightest interest in doing a bit of gardening this weekend.

SWEET SCENT: Hunter Valley Gardesn rose spectacular.

SWEET SCENT: Hunter Valley Gardesn rose spectacular.

And let's face it - who wants to garden in the summer heat?

Gardening can be a challenge at the best of times but throw in the heat of summer and a season of very little rain and we all tend to be a little uninspired.

So imagine what it is like for the 40-plus horticultural and maintenance staff who look after Hunter Valley Gardens, seven days a week, 364 days of the year.

These guys and girls are the behind-the-scenes crew that not only maintain Hunter Valley Gardens but also Harrigan's Irish pub, the Village, Mercure resort and Tempus Two cellar door complex.

They do an amazing job.

They all have a degree of passion, loyalty and enthusiasm that is hard to find these days and regardless of the challenges that you, I or the elements throw at them, they always come through with flying colours.

They are a versatile bunch as well.

Not only do they keep the gardens looking pristine year-round, but they are more than happy to step out of their comfort zone and become involved in our events.

In fact, these mild-mannered maintenance and gardening gurus are also the behind-the-scenes Christmas lights superstars who prepare, set up, run and dismantle the lights display every year over a four-month period as well as staying on top of the gardens during peak season.

They are from all walks of life and all share not only the passion for gardening but also the passion of sharing and giving.

I for one am very proud of the hard work and dedication shown by all of the staff and what they have achieved over the years.

So without further ado thank you and well done to Adam, Alex, Amy, Andy, Drew, Tony, Ben, Christie, Courtney, Dave C, Wellsie, Elltiki, Freeman, Gary, Howie, Jamie, John P, Karen, Kelly, Lynne, Mark G, Matt G, Megan, Richard, Rod, Scott, Shelomi, Simon, Sophie, Sue, Troy, Bill, Ian, John E, Brendon, Matt C, James, Barry, Mark B and Matt T. (I don't think I forgot anyone!)

Sean O'Brien is the horticultural manager of Hunter Valley Gardens.

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