Award-winning gardener John Le Messurier says it was Gordon Tindall who first fostered his love of gardening.
Mr Le Messurier, who grew up in Dubbo, was named as ABC Gardening Australia's Gardener of the Year.
On Tuesday he returned to the city, and the spot where Mr Tindall inspired him and his green thumb.
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When he was 14-years-old, Mr Le Messurier was caught by parks curator Mr Tindall scooping a fish out the pond at Victoria Park.
"He chided me and told me how bad I was. But then he said 'while you're here, why don't you come and help me garden?'," Mr Le Messurier said.
The teenager was taken under his wing and taught about the different types of plants.
"He took me around and showed me the trees and explained things to me. We became friends and it was just inspiring to me," Mr Le Messurier said.
To pay tribute to his former mentor, Mr Le Messurier walked along the Gordon Tindall Walk, carrying his golden spade.