Starting your dream garden from scratch is a lot of work.
Just ask Lewiston green thumbs Sandy and Brian Graham.
Six years ago they moved from the seaside suburb of Largs Bay to a large 2.5-acre block in the animal husbandry area.
While there were some established gum and peppercorn trees dotted around the property, Sandy said it was essentially a bit of patchy grass, a few neglected fruit trees, a lot of weeds and a disused pool space.
The couple quickly set about turning the garden around, finding fun, relaxation and new skills in the process.
“We’re both keen gardeners and this is good therapy,” Sandy explained.
“We usually like to spend a couple of hours each day in the garden.”
Take a stroll around the garden and you will be pleasantly surprised; there’s something for everyone.
A lush, tropical area complete with frog pond; a mediterranian themed area; an iris garden; a cottage garden, a herb garden, a fruit orchard, and many beds filled with an array of gorgeous succulents.
There are natives scattered throughout and recycled or natural materials are used wherever possible.
It’s neat, tidy, interesting, calm and peaceful.
They say gardeners are members of a special “green thumb” group.
Their hands are stained with their labour of love and no amount of scrubbing (or garden gloves) is going to get it out.
Sandy and Brian fit this bill.
Out the back is a practical yet beautiful greenhouse where the couple propagate and grow a variety of plants.
“Most of the garden is from self-propagated plants,” Brain quipped.
“A secret for any plant you want to grow is, if you plant it somewhere and it doesn’t show new growth, move it.
“It may be it needs more sunlight or more shade.
“Don’t be afraid to move plants.”
While there are many favourite plants in the garden for the couple, Sandy admits succulents are her pick of the bunch at the moment.
“I do really like hoyas, which are wax plants (but) I’m getting keen on the succulents because they’re really starting to grow now and there is such a range of them.
“I like a lot of different succulents in my garden.”
Trial and error has helped Sandy create her own special “succulent soil”.
It’s a mixture of potting mix, coir, washed sand and perlite, with a handful of power-feed fertiliser thrown in, which makes for a free-draining soil her succulents seem to thrive in.
The pair said there is always something to do in the garden and relish the time they spend together making something from nothing.
They are currently working on establishing a cacti garden.