One of the country's finest private gardens is in Far North Queensland.

Story By Kim Woods Rabbidge

In Larry and Robynn Butler's garden, nestled into rainforest at Mirriwinni in Far North Queensland, it can get very, very wet. In some years, especially when cyclones like Larry and Yasi have blown in leaving devastation in their wake, it’s received up to six metres of rain. In such extremes, this garden’s survival, just like those in arid regions, is due to considerable effort, ingenuity and especially the owners’ passion.
Larry and Robynn moved onto their three-hectare property 20 years ago after four years of labour-intensive site preparation. They retained most of the trees but it was a challenge to level a house pad among boulders. “We had to drill, blast and then remove some of them,” Larry says. “And there was so much impenetrable wait-a- while plant that had to be pulled with the tractor.”
Installing drainage was imperative. “We didn’t want the place to wash away in torrential downpours during the wet season,” Larry says. Today, the Butlers’ garden has not just survived the traumas of cyclones, it’s thrived, and is still considered one of the country’s finest.

This story excerpt is from Issue #90

Outback Magazine: Aug/Sept 2013