Coming from an Alice Springs dry environment, Mary and Dennis Ashley have thrived in the tropical Top End. 

Story + Photos Kerry Sharp

Countless cuttings from tropical plant varieties have been changing hands among Top End green thumbs since Mary and Dennis Ashley packed up their lives in Australia’s arid red heart and moved to a sprawling Top End rural sanctuary near Batchelor. 

“Almost everything growing here has been swapped for something else,” Mary says of the gardens on their 40ha Denmar Downs property. Lush garden beds dense with vibrant ornamentals, fruit trees and towering palms surround the Ashleys’ spacious, 6-bedroom home, built from scratch by construction and electrical specialist Dennis on a gentle rise overlooking the horse and cattle paddocks.

This story excerpt is from Issue #143

Outback Magazine: June/July 2022