Our house and garden covers two acres and we have mature trees that we love – especially the butter yellow of the Ginkgo leaves and red of the maples and Liquidamber in Autumn. One tree that doesn’t usually grow in the Highlands is a Dais that is covered in pink pom poms every Christmas outside out dining room. In Spring the Davidia – Handkerchief tree – with its white bracts and the yellow and orange tulip flowers of the Liriodendron give us pleasure.

My favourite shrub is a Homoranthus – a native low growing and spreading shrub that loves our sandy soil. We have both natives and exotics and planted natives to the south of the house because that is our view towards Morton National Park and it seemed logical to keep the native plants in front of it. There are no garden rooms or formal qualities to our garden or garden rooms and curves are more prevalent than straight edges. The garden beds were created around the trees. A friend who stayed for a while built a structure that we called Paddock Harvest because we harvested the stones from the paddock and she built a Paisley design inspired by the hedges we saw in Cornwall which are dry stone with soil in the middle and the plants grow on top. St Fiacre sits in the middle of hellebores. He was bought from the limited edition design by Patricia Moy and crafted in jail by the inmates.

Because our soil is sandy and ideal for native plants the Kangaroo Paws usually look good in Spring but some exotics such as Roses need extra attention and I ply them with cow manure and mulch with Lucerne hay after listening to a talk by Ben Swane – but they still leave a lot to be desired. Vegetables and the orchard are part of our lives and we bottle the fruit from apples, pears, peaches and cherries, make preserves from Fejoa, and Seville oranges and enjoy the produce from the vegetable garden and eggs from the chickens. We also have 3 bee hives and the Grevillea Lady O and Gold Fever that line the driveway provide almost constant flowers for them. I find that perennials and bulbs are easy care. Alstroemaria – three different colours but especially the red – flower for much of the year. Salvia and Penstemons give splashes of colour and the Magnolia stellata delights every year.