Highcroft Garden, Harrogate

Highcroft Garden is a 2 acre garden at Harrogate in South Australia. Maureen & Chris Highet’s beautiful property, which also farms Red Angus cattle, captures the wonderful views across the ranges. After retiring 12 years ago, Maureen was disappointed when she realised she had absolutely nothing to do.

At the time, Maureen had no interest whatsoever in gardening other than maintaining the lawns and shrubs. “I found myself wandering out into the front garden and doing a bit of pottering around, and you know what, I enjoyed it!” enthused Maureen. “It didn’t take long before I fell completely in love with gardening. I did my research and settled on plants which would thrive in a Mediterranean climate. In a good year, we might get 22 inches of rain and I can only water from my dam, so whatever I plant needs to be tough and able to cope by itself once established. In 2019, the garden hadn’t been watered for 18 months – visitors were so surprised by that fact. I also joined the Mediterranean Garden Society and found the members to be a great source of friendship, help and knowledge”.

Maureen started planting up the front garden, and when that was done, she decided that a larger garden would be nice. “We had a 2 acre paddock next to the house, where our two beautiful donkeys – mother and daughter, Blossom and Rosie live. They got a lovely new paddock and I got a lovely new site to develop. Fortunately, my husband Chris has all of the boys toys, so he went to work creating paths and garden beds for me, following the natural contours of the land. He is also really great at building things and has created some beautiful stone walls throughout the garden as well.”

Maureen grows lots of roses, echium, ornamental grasses, oleander, lavender, rosemary, salvia and plumbago – including lots of plants from California, South Africa and Syria. “My plan is to have colour and interest in the garden throughout the year.”

Unfortunately in January this year, Maureen and Chris were impacted by the fires at Currency Creek, and a third of the garden was lost, including most of the roses. “The love and care shown to us by so many people – many of whom we’d never met, was overwhelming” said Maureen. “They’ve provided me with cuttings and tube stock, and encouraged me to get right back into it. I had fully intended to do so, but this support made such a difference. I’m re-generating with my favourite products – Seamungus, GOGO Juice and Sudden Impact for Roses. I feed quite regularly – every 6 weeks – a healthy happy plant makes it so much more able to cope with our conditions. I love the GOGO Juice too, as beneficial bugs in the soil complement everything else that I’m doing” concluded Maureen.

Maureen opens Highcroft Garden to garden clubs, social clubs and tour groups. There’s plenty of room to relax and wander through this gorgeous garden, and it’s definitely one to pop onto your ‘to visit’ list.

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