V-Line train driver behind locomotive-shaped hedges at Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station

Rod Giri has driven trains across Victoria for nearly half a century, but it is his hobby that has been the cause of recent attention on social media.

The artist’s identity was shrouded in mystery, prompting internet sleuths to try and discover who has behind the hedge-trimming.

But now the mystery has been solved.

“I’ve been trimming them for two years, and people are just starting to notice,” Mr Giri told ABC Radio Melbourne.

The hedges were planted about six years ago.

But Mr Giri decided to transform the now-mature hedges into a living version of the iron horses.

“It just needed something, so we started trimming them up, and it started taking shape of an engine, so I thought I’d do another one,” Mr Giri said.

Mr Giri said it was originally a way to spruce up the garden outside their depot.

“It was just for a little bit of privacy,” he said.

“We have a little bit of stand-by time, waiting to go out and do our jobs.”

Labour of love
Despite having a soft spot for trains, Mr Giri said he first started driving out of necessity, but he would not have it any other way.

“I’ve got the best job in the world. I don’t want to do anything else,” he said.

“They were fixing up some R-Classes, and I was just a kid, but I liked history and wanted to help keep those skills alive.”

Now he spends his days talking to carriages full of locomotive enthusiasts, sharing his passion for the tracks.

“We’re the oldest railway group in the world,” he said.

Passenger services from Melbourne’s Spencer Street started in 1862, operating with a fleet of 32 passenger locomotives.

Full steam ahead
With hedges now well established and the garden in full bloom, Mr Giri said the team had branched out and landscaped the rest of the track-side garden.

“It’s a team effort, so if I don’t get to finish, other people help out with the gardening,” he said.

“It’s just a friendly environment, and the drivers all look out for each other.”

While Mr Giri was looking toward his retirement, there were still plans to expand the garden.

When it came to picking what was more technical, he said it was easy, with the green thumb still having the odd hedging mishap.

“It’s definitely shaping hedges,” he said.

“I cut off a headlight one day, but it’s grown back.”