Razorback Range, NSW
“I’d always wanted a garden. When my husband, Larry, and I bought a collection of dilapidated farm buildings I was given the opportunity to create one much earlier than I’d imagined. As we restored each building, the garden evolved to surround it. I was only 27 when we began here – how time flies when you’re having fun.
“As well as our ornamental garden, with everything from roses to frangipani, succulents to perennials, we have our kitchen garden, which has spilled beyond its original boundaries. For me, honest planting for the very best seasonal produce is what makes a great Italian garden. Our fruit trees are coming into leaf bud or blossom: we have apricots, peaches, plums, cherries, pears and quince, but my favourite are the figs.
“We’ve just finished the winter Jerusalem artichokes and we’re eating the first peas and broad beans. I’m seeking out last season’s garlic, too – although no longer shiny and new, it’s edible – and hopefully it won’t be too long before this year’s crop can be eaten green.
“This area is fabulous for rosemary and I use it in the ornamental garden to add solid clumps and for low hedging. One of my favourite herbs is lovage. It has a distinct celery flavour and pops up just as the peas hit their final stride, which means I get to make my favourite pea and lovage soup.
“One plant I have yet to master is celeriac. I love the taste of that knobbly root vegetable. I’ve grown small ones but I’m determined to grow a decent-sized one.”