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The Gardener with a Purrpuss!

David Olds and his cat Chloe are a common sight at the OCE community gardens. “When Chloe sees me putting on my boots, she pricks her ears and trots after me down to the gardens,” he laughs. Chloe won the hearts of David and Barbara Olds at the SPCA and has since won many more fans on the estate.

The Olds, originally from the South Island, have lived in Omokoroa over 45 years and at OCE for 17. Interestingly it was David’s father, a local minister, who saw the need for a retirement village, discovered that the Precious family farm was available for development and piqued the interest of Fraser Sanderson who was thinking along exactly the same lines. The rest is history!

David enjoyed a career as a representative for several major book publishers, spending his leisure time with his family on the Omokoroa waterfront, sailing and gardening. Since moving to OCE, gardening has taken over and David and Chloe are a regular fixture at their plot. “It’s all part of the community that is OCE,” says David. “We go down for half an hour’s pottering, get into conversation with some of the other 30 or so residents with plots and soon a couple of hours has disappeared. But that is the joy of retirement!”

The gardens were set up by OCE management on a tract of unbuildable land with fertile volcanic soil. They are very co-operative, all gardeners sharing knowledge, implements and the results of their labours. “We grow mainly vegetables,” says David, “though daffodils and other flowers do pop up to brighten our gardens.” The group got a boost a few years ago when OCE won the Community Garden section of a NZ Gardener magazine competition. “We got a shed, tools, wheelbarrows, plants and fertilizers as our prize,” David recalls.

Russell Jones is the plot coordinator and Property Manager, Trevor Goldstone, also gets called in on occasion. Everyone wins from the gardens as surplus vegetables are left in the mail room for OCE residents to help themselves.

Barbara Olds has served on the Residents’ Committee and both appreciate belonging to the OCE community. They attended the Village Centre re-opening after refurbishment and David is already relishing watching the rugby with fellow residents on the big screen there.

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