Gail Powell's family is grown and her 'hands-on mothering days' may well be over but she has turned her hand to growing her local community, and in particular her community's garden. As a mentor for the Charntay Gardens at the Te Irirangi and Great South Road intersection under the Redoubt Road overpass Gail opens the tool shed twice a week to the multicultural novice gardeners tending their plots.
"It's a great community scheme and so very popular the council has even had to create new smaller plots to try and meet the demand," she said.
The Community Gardens' scheme operates in various parts of South Auckland including Mangere and Middlemore and aims to teach locals how to tend the soil and grow produce and of course take home what they've learnt and grown. Gail's role as mentor involves teaching good garden maintenance, composting and how to combat pests and diseases.
"It's a great multicultural atmosphere," Gail says " We have everyone from Zimbabweans, Asians, Fjians all working side by side and producing some amazing crops. Okra, Sweetcorn and Bok Choi were particularly good this season!"
Gail's interest in the Community Gardens' programme seems a natural development from her years growing fruit on the family's Whitford orchard, which was the location for her recent family photos which Timeless Images shot for her. It seemed fitting that the orchard should feature given that the farm was central to their family life in New Zealand, and is still home to their grown sons.
"I've wanted family portraits taken for some time but it never seemed to be right, and then all of a sudden it was. Our son recently celebrated his 21st and whilst all three of them were home I grabbed photos of us all. It was a fun session, Lisa made us all feel very relaxed, which I think you can see in the photos.They really are us."
"I'd recommend having your family photos taken to anyone. It's an important time when they're all spreading their wings, a real milestone. I wanted to capture this time quickly before it's gone."
We think the family photos are beautiful, warm and natural and of course the backdrop of the rich green land plays an important part - it's a tribute to the family's life together growing up in New Zealand.
The photos are like a time capsule that each member of the family can look back on and remember the growing years.
But for Gail, her growing and nurturing years are not entirely over - it's back to the Community Garden with her green fingers to help in the raising and growing of a different community kind.