Bob’s 24 blooming years

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Queenstown’s best-known ‘Mr Green Fingers’ will no longer smell the roses after hanging up his secateurs on Monday. 

Bob Gibson, 76, retires after 24 years as resident gardener at the Novotel Queenstown Lakeside hotel. 

Gibson – who’s only retiring because of a crook knee – joined just eight months after the original THC hotel opened 25 years ago this month.

An ex-policeman who’d just shifted to Queenstown, Gibson was asked one day if he could prune the roses because the hotel gardener had left. 

“So I pruned all the roses.Next minute they said, ‘Find Bob the lawn mower’ and then I mowed the lawn – and I’ve been here ever since.” 

Gibson says the secret to tending his 400 award-winning roses is continually dead-heading them: “If you just leave them, they won’t come again.” 

Praise from visitors has always been appreciated: “Especially when they come down from the council’s Queenstown Gardens and tell me mine are better.”