Cartoon poster of Aunty Uvy

Everybody had an ‘Aunty Ivy’

…or an Aunty Hilda or an Aunty Edna.

There is something very familiar and comforting about ‘Aunty Ivy’. The character was introduced to the ‘Life. Be in it.’ public health campaign in the late 1980s, as a contrast to couch potato, ‘Norm’, who spent his days watching television. ‘Aunty Ivy’ was energetic and encouraged people to get out into the garden, enjoy the fresh air and, without even realising it, improve their health. Her personality is easy to relate to, that older mentor with an infectious enthusiasm and passion, in this case, for gardening.

‘Aunty Ivy’ was based on Sydney gardening personality, Ivy Lovric. Ivy was one of those inspirational people who spent her life sharing her passion for gardening with others. She was happy giving advice on all manner of gardening problems, whether it was through her management of gardening sections in large department stores, appearances on television and radio or at gardening events such as Floriade, in Canberra.

You can read more about Ivy Lovric and the ‘Life. Be in it’ campaign in the Aunty Ivy ‘Life. Be in it” posters collection highlight on our website.

For me, the gardening mentor in my family was my grandfather, Hugh. As a child, I remember the sweetest treat was eating fresh peas out of the pod straight from his garden. He would escape to the back garden and potter for hours tending his vegetables. My children are fortunate to have an Environment Centre at their school where they learn about gardening as well as caring for animals including chickens, lambs, stick insects, fish and turtles.

With spring upon us, I thought it was a good time to re-introduce ‘Aunty Ivy’, and perhaps she can continue to inspire a new generation of gardeners.

Did you have an ‘Aunty Ivy’? What was her passion?

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