Kaarimba’s Tonietta Mackin takes home horticultural award

By Laura Briggs

A Kaarimba gardening club has celebrated its 21st birthday in style.

Kaarimba Hall was transformed with decorations and colour to mark the Kaarimba Gardening Friends’ milestone.

Among the 60 guests who gathered for the celebrations was club secretary Tonietta Mackin.

As a true garden enthusiast, Ms Mackin has spent 20 of the 21 years as the group’s secretary.

While Ms Mackin was attending to celebrate the group’s birthday, little did she know an award ceremony was in line.

‘‘It was getting towards the end and the president of the Royal Horticultural Society of Victoria called me up to the front,’’ she said.

‘‘I thought I’d done something wrong.’’

Unsure of why she was being singled out, Ms Mackin made her way to the front where she was awarded the John Pascoe Fawkner Medal — the highest horticulture award in its category.

‘‘It was a real shock for me — a really lovely surprise,’’ she said.

Society president Don Rickerby said the award recognised Ms Mackin for her tireless work in horticulture and the tremendous work she has done in the community, volunteering in various groups.

Ms Mackin said while it was unexpected, she felt honoured to have received the rare award.

‘‘I didn’t expect it at all, but it is nice to be recognised for the efforts that you put in,’’ she said.