Thirty three years’ service at Watsons Gardens required more than a morning tea, so family and workmates turned out for a special luncheon to help Heather Watson celebrate hanging up her garden apron and retiring from the workforce.
The luncheon at Quarter Acre Café was a bright, if noisy affair, with near on 40 people attending. It seemed like one huge, happy family event; workmates were as close as the three generations of family members. The formalities, if they could be called “formal”, included speeches or words and gifts, some serious and the obligatory joke ones as well.
Yes there were stories, memories, laughter and a few tears, as various people took the podium. Among the speakers was her nephew, young Donny Watson, who has spent many of those 33 years working with his aunt. “It’s a pretty special day today,” he said as he looked back down the years. “I remember when everything was done by hand, mixing soil, and filling boxes. And the food — the morning teas and birthday shouts, were great. But the biggest thing I learnt from you, Aunty Heather, was talking to people, to make contact and talk with people.”
Over the years many customers had suggested she should write her own book, whether knowledge gained or experiences had, so to start her off she was presented with some notepads and pens, a work of art by her workmates — a wall-hanging with hooks for her mini garden tools and a couple of six packs of vegetable and flower seedlings for her own home garden. There was a travel voucher including one for a Kapiti Island Nature Tour — “I used to take people on Kapiti Island” she said. An aerial photograph showing the commercial garden, the old family home and her own Kirk Street property was another gift. A new digital camera and accessories to record her next adventures and ventures and a photo album recording many years of family and work events, fun and games and just in case she got she had time to get bored with her ‘relaxed” retirement she was presented with a new colouring book The Secret Garden and coloured pens to create her paper garden.
“I have lots of wonderful memories of wonderful times at Watson’s Gardens,” Heather responded. “Thank you very, very much. I came out of a good industry and got a job at Watsons. Everything I learnt and everything I know about Watsons, I learnt from my brother Don.”
So now Watsons beloved and knowledgeable Mrs Slocombe (from Are You Being Served) has taken hung up her garden apron and gloves and gone to enjoy her own much smaller garden and home.