HUMANS OF THE COAST: Everything’s coming up roses for Jim
IT'S the middle of a summer's day and close to 30 degrees outside but that does not deter Jim Harris from whipping out the whipper snipper for a garden tidy.
"For me, it's my relaxation," he said.
"Even when I had my butcher shops in New Zealand, I'd be flat out all the time but I knew I could have time out in the garden."
The garden is entirely Jim's creation.
The yard was bare when Jim and his wife Julie bought the ex-rental property at Sippy Downs 13 years ago.
The two met when they were partners at rock'n'roll dancing. It was second time around for both of them.
Jim had left New Zealand after his marriage deteriorated and his elder daughter was killed in a car crash.
He made up his mind to move during a trip to Australia to watch the All Blacks play.
"I came over here with my clothes," he said.
"And with my butcher's knives."
Jim grew up on a remote farm on the South Island where livestock were regularly slaughtered for food and to support the family.
He followed his old man into the butchery business but earned his wrath when he left to manage a shop for more than twice the money his father was paying.
He went on to run his own shops and easily picked up work in Australia.
But butcher shops began to feel "like jail" for him after 40-odd years and he bought a lawn mowing and garden care business 10 years ago.
He sold that in April but retirement has taken some adjustment.
The 64-year-old is happier now that he mows the lawns of his neighbours in addition to looking after his own garden, which is full of roses.
"I like roses. I like the perfume. They are easy to look after, in a way, to me. It's my time out," he said.
Jim has bought many of his roses from a favoured Adelaide supplier and defied warnings they could not be grown on the Coast.
"I've struggled but I've got them right now. I've lost a few but I've replaced them with different ones," he said.
The climate might not suit the roses but it suits Jim, who prefers the warmth of the Queensland sun and the "excitement" of Australia to NZ's cold days and limited entertainment options.
"They call Australia the lucky country. It has been for me."