If you've ever strolled along Mt Eden Road, chances are you've spotted Max Scoble lovingly tending to his patch.
Just metres from one of Auckland's busiest thoroughfares, the intrepid gardener has carved out a veritable oasis of vegetation on a vacant lot wedged between two commercial blocks.
If it weren't for this wee slice of heaven, the shy retiree admits he might be pushing up daisies by now.
Instead, Mr Scoble, 80, remains very much above ground, coaxing an array of flowers, vegetables and fruit out of the volcanic soil with a single-minded dedication that's as impressive as the paradise he's created.
Born in Taumarunui, he has spent most of his life alone, working 20 years for a concrete pipe manufacturer and another 20 on the Auckland wharves, before retiring.
That's when his passion for growing things really kicked in.
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"I met a guy on the wharf who told me a lot about gardening," Mr Scoble recalls. "I didn't know a bloody thing, but he told me a few things and I just picked it up.
"Things just seem to grow for me."
The land adjacent to his suburban flat was overrun with privet, but with the owner's permission, he began clearing the shrubs and converting the site into a workable space.
"It was just all overgrown, but no job is too hard if you're interested."
That was 18 years ago - these days, he patrols his domain daily, watering, planting, trimming and pulling weeds.
This week, Mr Scoble invited RadioLIVE gardening host Tony Murrell to tour his turf and our man jumped at the chance.
Afterwards, Mr Murrell gave it a big green thumbs-up.
"This is a garden I've known about for almost 20 years, and I've watched it evolve and seen it through the different seasons as well," he says. "At this time of the year, in November, it's extraordinary.
"It's an example of a garden that you wouldn't necessarily see in a city like Auckland, because it's filled with so many perennials and it has such an amazing riot of colour, when a lot of people just want green and white.
"It's quite a joyous place. The thing that has impressed me most is the fact that Max loves every single aspect of it."
As they strolled, Mr Scoble slowly came out of his shell, seeking advice and even dishing some out to the expert.
"Have you ever tried tea leaves on your lemon tree?" he asked. "Just sprinkle them around on the ground - it works a treat."
The land owners, who wish to remain anonymous, are very happy to let Mr Scoble continue his pet project for the foreseeable future.
"It keeps him busy and helps keep the place maintained," said a family member. "It's a great stopping-off point for people to look over from the street and enjoy."
The section is part of a block that includes the old Crystal Palace theatre, but the owners have no immediate intention to develop their property.
"I've asked them to let me know if they decide to sell the place, because I don't want to do all this gardening and then have it sold from under me," worries Mr Scoble.
"But we've got a pretty good understanding."
His bigger concern - who will look after his baby when he's no longer around.
"I need to keep it going as long as I can keep going, because once I'm gone, it will go back to what it was."