It's rare for a couple, both keen gardeners, to have the opportunity to create a large garden from scratch.
But when the chance came Philippa and David Thompson's way in 1980, they seized the day.
The result is a garden which reflects their combined interests and comes together in a most satisfying way:
David's love of trees and structures, Philippa's joy in all flowering plants, and a shared delight in ornamental water.
The Thompsons originally regarded the property as a temporary measure.
With a growing family, they needed a home on a school bus run and space for outdoor games and ponies, but always envisaged returning to the land.
However, the convenience and appeal of the house they found on the outskirts of Bathurst grew on them and they decided to stay.
The advantages were a north-facing site sheltered by remnant yellow box (Eucalyputus melliodora) and red gum (E. blakelyi) woodland, 600 millimetres annual rainfall and access to water.
The one downside was badly eroded granite soil, but they saw this as a challenge to overcome.
They started the garden by terracing the land sloping down from the house to make an east-west lawn, supported by a retaining wall and with a second terrace below.
A cross axis was created by building steps in the centre of the retaining wall down to a large, octagonal pergola, looking over two oblong canals, one below the other.
The garden was further extended westwards with a wooden bridge, now covered in Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata), over a large round pond, with steps down to a lawn flanked by herbaceous borders which Philippa keeps in flower from spring to autumn: favourites include irises, cranesebills (Geranium sp.), pokers (Knphoria sp.), salvias and sedums.
They planted two planes (Platanus x acerfolia) in 1988, which frame the pergola and ponds below, and in 1990 added a pair of English beech (Fagus sylvatica) on the lawn directly above.
Other trees include numerous oaks, birches, crab apples, pears, dogwoods (Cornus capitata, C. mas), and pomegranate.
Persian ironwood (Parrotia persica), golden ash, scarlet oaks (Quercus coccinea) and an ornamental grape bring brilliant autumn colour.
The trees shelter a wide range of flowering shrubs and bulbs.
Daffodils and jonquils bloom among buddleias, smokebushes (Cotinus sp.), ninebark (Physocarpus), a magnificent Viburnum rhyditophyllum and more.
Philippa continues to care for the garden, a tribute to David, who died in 2017, to their shared love of creating a beautiful environment to live in, and for her, an endless source of comfort and spiritual renewal.
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