One of Australia’s top botanists and his partner have restored a neglected but well-watered garden in the Peel region of WA.

Story + Photos Kim Woods Rabbidge

Cypress Farm is a 65ha sanctuary nestled in a valley by Lane Poole Nature Reserve, near Waroona, about one hour’s drive south of Perth. It’s home to one of Australia’s most eminent botanists, Curtin University Professor Kingsley Dixon and his husband, accountant Lionel Johnston, who have nurtured gardens together over 40 years.

Their previous property was in the heritage town of York, WA, but as conditions became drier, gardening became far more challenging. Longing for somewhere with a good water supply and reasonable soil, they briefly considered an all-native garden in the wandoo forest near York. Their lives changed dramatically, though, when their barber shared photos of a property with remnants of a garden begun in the 1980s that had an almost limitless supply of spring water. Four years later, in 2015, the owners were ready to sell.

This story excerpt is from Issue #135

Outback Magazine: Feb/Mar 2021