Meeting the locals

Claudia Aalderink finds stopping at local stalls to be the best way to shop. 

When driving through the countryside you see signs selling eggs, flowers, mandarins, herbs, honey, all for low prices. It’s a great way to support local growers in their effort to share their home-grown produce.

Pick me, pick me!
Pick me, pick me!

With honesty boxes for payment at the stalls you hardly ever see the people behind them. I am on a mission to try and meet the face behind the sign on Horsham Downs Road.

On a stunning morning in the Waikato I pull over at a stall on the roadside and find Heather. As I walk down the driveway I see she has created a little oasis of herbs and plants for people to pick from in exchange for an honest donation.

She tells me that her passion for gardening evolved from a major event in her life. In May 2011 she was diagnosed with breast cancer when small irregularities were found during a mammogram. Heather stresses the importance for all women to get checked regularly. She is beaming when she tells me she is clean now.

The therapeutical significance of gardening has been very beneficial for Heather, who also suffered from depression in the past.

“I love it here”, she says and proudly shows me all around her garden with self-built sheds, green houses and fences to keep the ducks and chickens in.

“I’m always busy with building new additions to the garden and I love my house.”

Heather doesn’t care much about luxury and prefers quality of life to anything else.

The flowers are very popular, she tells me.

“From time to time I spend a day picking them to make nice bunches for people to buy. I can’t keep up with the demand at times.”CAP_0314 - Version 2

At 64, Heather is a glowing example of a strong, independent woman with a passion for the beauty of nature. The qualities of her garden and her self-created oasis on Horsham Downs Rd provide her with the pleasure to continue her life with newly found strength and courage.

She even tells me she has a bucket list with some interesting things on it.

Good on you Heather, it was great to meet you!

Visit Heather’s beautiful cottage garden for fresh flowers, eggs, lemons, herbs or a nice chat on 736 Horsham Downs Rd.

ClaudiaClaudia Aalderink produces Claudia’s Corner exclusively for N8N. A whimsical, weekly photographic column on anything that takes her fancy.

Check out her website here.

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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

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