Man behind Hamilton Gardens' dramatic transformation retires

After decades at the helm, the man behind the dramatic transformation of the Hamilton Gardens is retiring. 

Dr Peter Sergel first began at the project in 1978. He's responsible for the concept that has turned the gardens into an award-winning international attraction. 

But the famed Hamilton Gardens didn't always look as picturesque as they do now. When Dr Sergel first began working, he says the gardens were a bit of a "council dump".

"There was just bits of broken concrete, bridge beams, handrails and bits of old seats... the place was just littered with rubbish. So it really transformed from what it was."

His role in that transformation shouldn't be understated - Dr Sergel was responsible for the park's first concept plan. Since then he has helped develop more than 20 gardens. 

"It's been a lot of fun, creating new gardens," Dr Sergel says.

Over time, his vision has been realised, now telling the story of gardens through the ages of man.

"It's not just a collection of plants and sculptures a few pavilions, it's all around the story."

Three new projects are underway, including a Baroque Garden, Egyptian Garden and Medieval Courtyard with walls covered in cloister.

The Baroque Garden will have a central pool in the middle and baroque facade at the back.

How quickly the projects are finished will primarily rely on community support, which has been a constant in Dr Sergel's career. 

"Forty years ago the council approved a plan, but there was no budget, and the reason it's happened is because of the community support."

Despite his imminent retirement, Dr Sergel isn't quite ready to give it all up yet - he's staying on in a part-time role. 

"I'll certainly miss the people, and being at the centre of things."

The humble and diligent gardener is proving to be a force of nature for the Hamilton Gardens.