Resident Profile: Bill’s passion for plants and painting

Devonport resident Bill believes keeping things simple is the key to living a contented life. A talented gardener, poet, painter and collector, his hobbies give him the chance to unwind, while keeping his mind and body active.

Bill moved into his Devonport home from a private rental three years ago with his wife Kay, after a series of medical difficulties meant he needed a property with better accessibility.
After the move he had to start his garden from scratch, but his obsession with native plants began many years ago.

“As a kid growing up near Mudgee, I used to admire the native plants. I still remember them very vividly… Then in my thirties I dropped into a friend’s place and he had this native garden out in the backyard. I saw things that I’d never seen before, and it got me from there.”

The Tasmanian weather isn’t always on his side, but Bill loves the challenge of growing plants native to Western Australia.

“If someone tells me I can’t grow something, I’ll get one and try to grow it. There’s a lot of plants that have been put in that haven’t done well, so off with their heads,” he says with a chuckle, before explaining “it’s a rotation, a garden is never completed. It’s always on the go.”

One of Bill’s paintings inspired by nature.

Inside their property, Bill feeds his creative side. He uses putty to add texture to his paintings, which are lovingly displayed by Kay. The pieces are brightly coloured and show Australian landscapes and animals.

There’s also room for his collection of gemstones, fossils, figurines and carvings.

“I make little farm figurines out of paddle pop sticks. They’re quite detailed. it’s the sort of thing I like to do because you have to make it up as you go along. I don’t work on them fulltime… I just give an hour from time to time, then onto the next thing.”

Bill also writes poems and short stories. His best ideas often come to him at 2AM, luckily he keeps track!

“If I’ve got a writing pad near, I’ll just jot them down and eventually make a story out of it, it all comes together. Poetry is a little bit like painting. It doesn’t come from you; it comes through you from another source. You’re writing it on the paper, but the thoughts are being coordinated somewhere else. Everything comes together, with focus. I enjoy it.”

His interests help to keep him healthy. Focusing on small tasks and activities keeps his mind clear and allows him to live simply, one day at a time.

“I call them therapy because that’s what it is. I’ve suffered a lot of back pain and neck pain, so I need to keep my mind in another place. So I go and do a bit of gardening for a while. When I get sore, I’ll sit down and do a bit of painting or make a few figurines or something like that. It’s all a matter of keeping myself fluid, always moving from one thing to another. That’s therapy!”