After 42 years at her Whanganui East home, Cherry Novis' passion for tending her garden grows by the day.
"The gardens change, it's always changing. Some of the trees have been here a long time, others I keep changing. We keep it different. The main trees stay but everything else changes."
Gardening has been a lifetime passion for Novis.
"Gardening has always been a hobby. I'm a hobby gardener, it's a passion. I love it, absolutely love. When I was about 10, my parents gave me a little bit of garden to garden and I've always done it.
"At the moment, it's pretty green."
As well as growing an assortment of flowers, Novis has a vast vege garden, with beans, spring onions, celery, lettuce, beetroot and more growing away.
"I grow cauliflowers and cabbages in the winter, but because of the white butterfly I don't grow them in the summer."
The backyard has developed quite significantly since they first moved in four decades ago.
"When we moved here it was just a lawn, there was a fence across here and the rest was a vege garden. We have completely changed it. My husband would come from work and there would be another garden dug.
"Over the last couple of years we have taken it back a bit because it can get a bit too much, it's a lot of work. It's a lot of work weeding and cutting it back."
Novis said the continual work over the years has meant her garden is fairly low maintenance, spending roughly an hour a week weeding and tidying up.
"If you keep weeding for years and years and years, you don't get as many because you don't let them seed.
"It's not high maintenance, I don't have to be out here all the time which is what we want. We don't want to be a slave to the garden."
Novis said being outside gave her peace and she tried to be in her garden space as much as she could.
"I would far rather be out here than doing housework, I gravitate to doing gardening all the time."
Roses are her favourite, with November and early December being the prime time for her garden.
"It's amazing. Everything is out. The foxgloves are out, the irises are out. It's really colourful. We are just between seasons at the moment."
She said the clay soil under her garden kept her flowers moist throughout the warmer months.
"We are very lucky with watering, we don't have to water every day because it holds the moisture."
Novis said being outside was one of her passions
Being in her backyard takes her away from everyday life, where she finds herself drifting to one of the benches in the back of a garden to read a book whenever she gets the chance.
"I feel like I'm in a park, I really enjoy it."
Also in this series:
Whanganui's Most Beautiful Garden finalist: Karen Hurndell's garden is also art
Whanganui's Most Beautiful Garden finalist: Phil Thomsen's garden built from the ground up
Whanganui's Most Beautiful Garden finalist: Cherry Novis' pride and joy
Whanganui's Most Beautiful Garden finalist: Christine Walker's garden the result of years of hard work
Whanganui's Most Beautiful Garden finalist: Penny Daddy's Japanese-themed garden hosts weddings
And the winner was ... Karen Hurndell takes out Whanganui's Most Beautiful Garden Competition
• Six finalists in the Whanganui's Most Beautiful Garden competition will be featured in the Chronicle between January 4 and 9. Pick up a copy of the paper to vote for your favourite.