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Tauranga's Our First Home gardening champ

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The secret garden the Wotton family created. Photo / TVNZ
The secret garden the Wotton family created. Photo / TVNZ

A Tauranga woman's passion for gardening has helped her team take out the latest challenge on reality TV show Our First Home.

The show's three teams were tasked with creating a secret garden for $1000 in last night's episode and Tauranga nurse Theresa Tingey, who is the co-owner of Girven Rd Medical Centre, headed up the Wotton family's winning project.

Tauranga woman Theresa Tingey and her son Josh make up half of the Wotton family on Our First Home.
Tauranga woman Theresa Tingey and her son Josh make up half of the Wotton family on Our First Home.

Also on the Wotton team were Mrs Tingey's 26-year-old surveyor son, Josh, his primary school teacher girlfriend Bex, 26, and Bex's father Henry Wotton, who owned his own tiling business.

The budget and time constraints were the most challenging parts of the project but the team were happy to come away with the win, Mrs Tingey said "We had moved some French doors and we had put them off the bedroom. We always had a vision it would be a private courtyard off the bedroom so it was perfect. It was a really cool task because it was something that we already had in our minds."

In one afternoon the family managed to build and paint fences, build the deck and get all the plants in.

"It was pretty major. It was also the week that we'd done our biggest area. I think we pulled it off pretty well," she said.

Mrs Tingey said gardening had been a passion of hers for more than 30 years. She was one of the co-founders of the Tauranga Garden and Art Festival. "Gardening is something that's good for the soul. It's rewarding. It creates a beautiful environment."

Her experience in gardening helped when it came to choosing the right plants for the right places, but it was a real team effort, she said.

So far on the show the family had managed to work together well, Mrs Tingey said.

"It's been hard work " long hours. I'm not sure you get that perception. When people get a bit fragile it's related to sleep deprivation. In saying that, you're not trying to deal with other things in life. It's your entire focus," she said.

"We all get on very well despite what you may see at times. We have a really good relationship. We are vocal and voice our opinion but we see that as a strength and we embrace it."

Mrs Tingey said the family were enjoying the experience, although it took a while to get used to it. "You've got to accept the 'intrusion' into every bit of your existence but you've got to remember you signed up for it."

The show screens every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at 7.30pm on One.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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