Ann Bucknell has carved a showcase garden out of a rocky knoll on Elmore station.

Story and photos Kim Woods Rabbidge

When Peter and Ann Bucknell purchased 730-hectare Elmore station, 13 kilometres east of Inverell, NSW, nearly 30 years ago, only four trees grew in the homestead garden. The garden fence was just a few metres from the house – a sign no avid gardeners had been in residence.

Having grown up with a mother who had beautiful gardens, Ann was keen to develop one. “I just visualised what I’d like,” she says. “I didn’t want it to feel enclosed; I wanted to be able to look into the distance, and from inside the garden, look from one archway to the next.”

Built in 1900 from bricks made on site, the homestead was designed by Inverell architect HGS Cooper. Elmore was one of the locales frequented by painter Tom Roberts at that time. Today, the entry road passes through river flats where centre-pivot irrigation is used on pastures, fattening cattle. It then crosses the McIntyre River, before ascending to the homestead. 

As soon as you enter the garden you’re enveloped in a sense of quietude, punctuated only by myriad darting birds. Now many mature trees anchor the garden, including an original persimmon that bears prolifically, Manchurian pears, maples, elms, crab apples and claret ash.

This story excerpt is from Issue #115

Outback Magazine: October/November 2017