As Ipswich City Council’s Supervisor of Open Spaces in the CBD, Rob Campbell – or “Cobber” as he’s affectionately known – has been working on Ipswich’s gardens for the past 28 years.
Mr Campbell looks after the gardens throughout the CBD, from Denmark Hill to Riverheart Parklands and Browns Park and says he’s always happy to share his gardening expertise with locals who stop to have a chat.
“A lot of people stop to say hello or ask for some tips on their garden. I’ve been working here so long that lots of locals know me,” Mr Campbell said.
“I love my job. Where else can you get a job where you grow nice plants and get to enjoy the fresh air?”
The Quota club presented Mr Campbell with a certificate of appreciation last month to say thank you to Mr Campbell for keeping the Quota Centennial Rose garden in such great shape.
Browns Park in bloom: Roses, poppies and colourful annuals are brightening up Ipswich this Spring
Spring in Ipswich is not exactly an ideal climate for roses, so Mr Campbell and his team have to work hard to keep the gardens in peak condition.
So what’s the secret to keeping roses at their best?
“They like a deep water, but not too often,” Mr Campbell said.
“As a rule of thumb, give them some fertiliser them every 6 weeks, and make sure you rotate fertiliser between synthetics like Osmocote, to mineral fertiliser or crushed rock.
“If I fed you sausages every day, you wouldn’t like it, so you need to mix up their food. They need different trace elements to stay healthy.
“They also need a good prune back once a year to about six nodes high- we do that every 15th of July, then we do another prune in summer to keep them nice and healthy.”
Mr Campbell said that there’s a meaning behind each of the different colours of roses: red for romance, yellow for friendship and peach for integrity.
When he’s not at work, Mr Campbell works on his garden at home, where he tends to dozens of rose bushes with his wife.
“We have about 30 roses, and my wife’s a good gardener too so we get out there and do it together.”