Trevor Parker, gardener at Melaleuca Station gets ready to tackle more topiary with his trusty trimmer.
Trevor Parker, gardener at Melaleuca Station gets ready to tackle more topiary with his trusty trimmer. John Gass

Trevor's trimmer turns heads

IT HAS become as much a landmark as crossing the Tweed River for all those travellers approaching or departing the south of Tweed Heads.

Melaleuca Station Memorial Gardens nestles at the intersection of the Pacific Hwy and Tweed Valley Way at Chinderah.

The spectacular building and magnificent gardens are impossible to miss for anyone driving along either major thoroughfare.

The stunning building could be mistaken for a huge Edwardian railway station or a grand Victorian-era hotel - the imposing structure really grabs the eye.

As do the picture-perfect gardens on the 4ha site, highlighted by the stunning topiary works which include a giant ship (Australian lilly pilly with brown pine funnels), the Melaleuca Station sign (Murraya) and a grove of 28 towering Hill's weeping figs (Ficus microcarpa var. hillii).

There are extensive hedges throughout the gardens as well as numerous gardens and a host of trees and shrubs which have so far escaped the topiary bent of Trevor Parker, Melaleuca's resident gardener, groundsman and yes, artist.

Mr Parker wields his hedge-trimmer like a scalpel.

His dexterity with the machine is a wonder as he works on his huge "canvas".

"I've been doing it for nigh on 20 years so you would reckon I'd have it down pat by now," Mr Parker said.

Mr Parker said he gave his artworks a trim whenever he believes the leaves have become a "bit scraggly".

"All of the topiary pieces get a trim because their leaves seem to grow about the same speed across all the species of plants," Mr Parker said.

"Once I start, it normally takes me two weeks to get through all the work, a lot of which involves using a cherry-picker to access high and awkward places."



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