A thought popped into my head when I was having dinner in Perth. Ten minutes away from where Paul, (head of propagation at Iseli – My boss in America) his wife Cathy, and I were eating, was a two acre oasis created by international plant collectors. Despite the sun fading and the temperature adamantly reminding us that is wasn’t spring yet, it only took a quick phone call to the garden to organise a tour with the head gardener. Few industries in the world are as welcoming and generous as the horticulture field.

Not wanting to push our luck with that generosity, we sprinted to Branklyn Gardens to find a man standing in wait with a torch in hand. Jim Jermyn was our only bright light in a garden now consumed by darkness.

The torchlight bounced across the whites of Galanthus that the self-confessed galanthophile has introduced to the garden since becoming head gardener a year ago. The underside of Rhododendrons glistened, exposing deep cinnamon leaves under the harsh light. Silhouettes of deciduous trees were barely discernible in the darkness. Spearheads of various alpine and herbaceous plants lay patient. The ten-foot tall carrot, Megacarpea polyandra, takes ten years to flower and there it was in Jim’s spotlight.

Branklyn Gardens was a unique experience not only for its horticultural value, but also for the gracious welcome we received from its staff.

Written by Connor and Rachel Smith