SYLVIA Tol needs her daily dose of gardening to keep her on the go. A day doesn't go by without the 70-year-old tending to her Karabar patch.
"I just love it, I could do gardening all the time. I think best when I'm gardening, it's a time to process your thoughts and make decisions," she said.
"I'm happy in the garden. I look at it everyday, what's out, what's changed, has anything eaten anything? I'm in the garden at some point everyday, there's lots of pots, so there's lots of watering to be done. I feel contentment, when I'm in the garden it's very peaceful."
A natural green thumb, Sylvia's love of garden is genetic stemming from her grandparents and parents' passion.
"I think you learn by doing. My grandparents were gardeners and there are many plants they love in this garden. My mother and father were also gardeners, we always had a garden with flowers, fruit and vegetables.
"The worse death for me would be to live in a unit, I'd rather die than not to have a garden," she adds dramatically.
Sylvia and her husband Hans downsized from half an acre in Newcastle to their Karabar home two years ago.
The home had been rented out for three years prior so the garden was bare and in poor condition. Neglected plants, limited space and the local frosty climate were some of the obstacles Sylvia faced.
"I like to quickly make my mark on a place," Sylvia said. "I love creating gardens: this is the fourth and the last one.
"The drought broke in 2010, the birches were on their last legs. The garden was a mess, it was horrible, overgrown, weeds everywhere. It was a real challenge."
Sylvia's first port of call was to have half of the double driveway dug up and reclaimed for plants. The front yard has been transformed from a few sparse plants to overflowing with rose bushes, irises and camellias.
Sylvia also enlisted the help of horticulturist and landscaper Tony Reynolds.
"I love curves so you see a lot of those shape around the garden," she said. "Tony also helped with the pergola and steps out the back and the stepping stones. He's very clever."
The backyard is a beautiful sight with a pergola the focal point and a water fountain nestled behind it.
There's an abundance of pots, plants and a few herbs and vegetables on either side of the steps and birds chirping as they hover above.
Sylvia said she likes to concentrate her efforts on plants rather than vegetables as they take up too much space.
"There's very little I don't like to plant and I particularly like growing things from seed," she said. "I have lots of roses, dahlias, lasiandras and gerberas. I've got a little bit of rhubarb, spinach and herbs like parsley and basil too."
Although, Sylvia enjoys the crisp country air the lower temperatures can often wreak havoc on the plants.
"I did lose a few plants early on...but I'm proud of my cinerarias. People told me 'you can't grow cinerarias in Queanbeyan' because of the cold and frost,'' she said. "But I just thought 'I can! I can!' and now I just grow them in pots under shelter."
This weekend, Sylvia will open her garden to the public as part of an Open Gardens Australia initiative.
Tea and coffee will be served and a portion of the entry fee will go to Home in Queanbeyan where Sylvia volunteers once a week.
"I enjoy [showing the garden], I like things to be shared and I like the community spirit...it encourages civic pride, it's a good thing," she said.
"People like to sit down, have a cuppa and look while they're having a rest."
Visit the Tol's Garden at 2 Ullamulla Crescent, Karabar on October 20 and 21 from 10am to 4.30pm. The public is also invited to the Caza's Garden at 194 Denley Drive, Wamboin on October 20 and 21 from 10am to 4.30pm. Admission: $7, under 18-year-old: free.