Southern Highlands landscaping


Happy new year to you all. I have great hopes for 2017; because let’s be frank, 2016 was rubbish. In so many ways. Except for my great brassica crop. And our chestnut harvest. And the raspberries….


That’s one thing that we gardeners know – there is always next year. And when the planet is shuddering with political dramas and you lose a parent, you can always go out and eat a perfect apple, or a juicy strawberry, and your soul is soothed.

So on that note and the threat of imminent sugar rush… (Darrell Lea rock lea road marshmallow, chocolate, coconut and peanuts scoffed just before lunch because I went down the Lolly Aisle at the supermarket yesterday and have been eating my childhood memories in the form of sugar ever since.) On with the new year and a new story.

img_4322Don’t you love how certain phrases mean something different the world over? The Southern Highlands. Do an internet search and you will find they are everywhere. Here in New South Wales, over in the United States, in Mexico, even in Papua New Guinea.


We just don’t have enough PNG stories in this blog. Or in the world.  But for today I thought you might like to see some snaps and a small story about the southern highlands a few hours drive south of Sydney.

img_4329We were guests at Jean and John’s who took us over to their friends Janet and Dougal for a barbecue and a tour of their farm.

And wow. What a feat. J and D have designed and built a beautiful home that is powered entirely by renewable energ; they have just finished building a large landscaped garden, set in one hundred acres of beautiful Australian countryside, and to cap it all… wombats!


These curious Australian animals are pests to many; they burrow and create huge ‘nests’ underground and can undermine foundations, gate posts, and cause tremendous trip hazards when you are walking in the bush.


I have never been this close to one; nor have I seen so many in one paddock.  It takes a while to get your eye in. And we were walking almost at dusk as it was peak time for the wombats to be out and grass munching.


But as they are very poor at sight and sound, as long as you are downwind from them and they don’t smell you, this is how close you can get. Here are David and John gesturing us to move closer to see this particular creature.


My camera is not going to do justice to the landscaping work Janet and Dougal have undertaken. So forgive the gloaming and the odd shapes.


This is a landscape you need to visit in a few years time when the prostrate rosemary has knitted together.


I kept seeing shrubs and perennials I grow myself and had a yelp of delight when I found them in this Australian landscape.  And quite a few plants that can take the highlands cold, but not our mountain mediterranean cold. There was yearning and there was envy.  I must try kniphofia again.

img_4323And don’t get me started on their great mulch. Nothing like coming half way across the world for mulch inspection.

img_4307The scale and the ambition are there to see, even in this young garden.