Our garden paradise
Garden view from our kitchen window.
If there is one place in all the world that Larry and I love to be - apart from with our respective families in England and the USA of course - or, in Larry's case, on the golf course - it's in our rambling garden.
When we bought this land back in 1997 it was just a sheep paddock. No trees, no shrubs, no flowers; just grass - and a small flock of black-faced, black legged Suffolk sheep. For me, it was as though the stars had aligned, as I grew up in the county of Suffolk in England, and knew only too well the sound of those lovely sheep bleating in the fields nearby. It was like coming home.
Before we had even built the house, we joined our local Landcare and Land for Wildlife groups to learn what we needed to do to create habitat for local wildlife, and so began our passion for Australian native gardening.
We learned the importance of planting upper, mid and under-story trees and shrubs that are indigenous to this area, to attract and cater for the needs of feathered and furry creatures large and small. We learned to minimise our use of herbicides and pesticides, to provide a source of water for wildlife, to pull weeds by hand, to compost everything compostible, and to let the balance of nature take care of most pests in the garden.
To my relief, we learned that it's OK to mix some exotic plants, like roses, salvias and lavenders into our native garden, to provide a burst of colour when many of the native plants have finished their flowering season. To our delight we've discovered that many native birds and bees don't discriminate between local and exotic plants. For them, if there's a flower there's pollen and, year round our garden is a hive of activity.
Almost every plant we've bought, we've bought locally and, with few exceptions everything has thrived - with virtually no help from us. Even in the driest years (2009 was a shocker!!) we have been lucky to still have lovely morning dews and the occasional morning fog, which enable plants to take in moisture through their leaves if not their roots.
Since opening our home as a B&B back in 2014, we are busier than ever inside the house and have far less time to spend in our wonderful garden. We desperately miss being able to sink our hands into the soil and truly connect with nature. But regardless of how busy we are, every now and then we can pause and look through any window in our house to see our magnificent view, our beautiful garden and the wildlife that lives in it.
We live in paradise and couldn't be happier.