Rob Kennedy looks forward to finishing a day’s work and watering his garden. “Some people like to go and read a book, I like to water flowers,” he laughs. Kennedy knows a lot about flowers as an award-winning gardener with a mantlepiece of trophies to his name. He is readying his garden for this year’s Chronicle Garden Competition. 

Growing up in Cunnamulla, in the dry heat of the outback, Kennedy built himself a rock garden. It was hard to grow anything there due to lack of water, but thanks to determination his garden thrived. In 1996, he moved to Toowoomba and became a landscaper; turning his passion into a successful business.

Kennedy has won trophies for many categories including Best Edible Garden and Best Productive Garden. On 28 July he will be showcasing his award-winning garden ahead of the Chronicle Gardening Competition, which is held during the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers. “I wanted to host an open garden, not only to promote the 70th year of the competition, but to show that it’s not all roses that leads to the Carnival, it’s a lot of work.” Kennedy goes on to explain, “It’s not about winning, it’s about promoting the city, I see how much work the Council puts in to ensure our public parks are in beautiful bloom for the Carnival, this is my way of contributing.”

Kennedy’s story is as inspirational as it is impressive. When he opens his garden gates next week, Kennedy will be acknowledging his one year anniversary from when he sustained a severe brain injury. After being airlifted to Brisbane by RACQ’s LifeFlight, Kennedy was put into an induced coma. “My landscaping business suffered for six months, but this competition has been a huge inspiration for me.” Kennedy said. This year during the Chronicle Garden Competition, he has decided to dedicate his garden and work to LifeFlight by collecting gold coin donations.

Kennedy also speaks passionately about boxing, a sport he loves and supports. He co-sponsors a boxer called Jamie ‘Hardman’ Hilt who won the Australasian title recently. “Since my accident, Jamie and Kylie, his wife, have been very good to me,” Kennedy explains, going on to say how much their friendship meant to him during the past year.

Readers also enjoyed this story about Sunflower Blooms.