Fifty years ago, Rhonda Sawyer started selling plants from her back garden as a hobby. That venture flourished, and now, in 2022, Wingham Nursery and Florist has celebrated it's 50th anniversary.
The Sawyer family, nursery employees and customers celebrated with a weekend-long garden party, and even the unpleasant weather did not diminish the festivities.
"It was fantastic," Ralph Sawyer, husband of Rhonda, said.
"We had a fantastic turnout of old customers from way back which had been loyal to us, some we hadn't seen for ages.
"Considering the weather even yesterday was still great. But Saturday was really good," Ralph said.
Even during the rain on Sunday, Ralph reported 90 customers came through the gates.
Tanya Sawyer, Ralph's daughter-in-law, had organised what Ralph called a 'huge' event.
There were competitions for Best Garden Party Hat, Best Saucer/Miniature Garden, Best Baked Goods, Best Photobooth Photo, Best Dressed in garden party theme, a Lucky Door Prize worth around $200 and a guessing competition for lollies in a jar.
Wingham Rotary Club provided a barbecue and around $800 was raised for charity, which Tanya has decided will go to the Australian Kidney Foundation.
Rhonda's hobby was registered as Wingham Nursery in 1972, and later became Wingham Nursery and Florist as she expanded to include her love of floral arranging.
"She loved floristry and she was fantastic at it," Ralph said, adding proudly that Rhonda had won awards for flower arranging with Interflora.
The footprint of the business also expanded, with the Sawyers buying two blocks next door to cope with the blooming business.
Through the 50 years, it is the customers that Ralph is most grateful for. Regulars now come from as far away as Port Macquarie and Forster.
"Our customers have been very loyal to us really, over the years," Ralph said.
"I think it was in the 80s we had terrible hail storm, and the amount of people who came in and helped us clean it up. Back then Hickmans and Plant Sellers were going, and they'd come up and help clean up and prune and offered us stock.
"We've had a pretty good run with staff, too. The staff have been good to us," Ralph said.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Did you know? Manning River Times online subscribers not only have 24/7 access to local and national news, sport, what's on and entertainment - they also have access to our print editions in digital format, with all the advertisements and classifieds at their fingertips.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.