When Craig and Julie Hulbert went to inspect the block they were thinking of buying, the first thing Craig did was grab a shovel and take a big scoop of soil. After long careers in landscaping for Craig and nurseries for Julie, the couple decided the year 2000 was the time to build their own dream garden. Good volcanic soil was at the top of their shopping list when they started looking for the right place in which to do it. The right weather was also a priority, as the Hulberts were keen to grow as many cool climate plants as possible. The location on the slopes of Mt Gibraltar at Mittagong in the NSW Southern Highlands ticked both these boxes, plus a good few more.


Almost 15 years down the track, and with just about every conceivable spare centimetre bursting with colour and life, it’s hard to believe that the garden they call Perennial Hill started life as a bare paddock except for a couple of big gum trees on the boundary. The site slopes steeply from the front gate via a rockery and a conifer section to the house, which is guarded on one side by a walled garden and an avenue of roses and the potting shed and propagating area on the other. At the back is the more level ground, which is also cooler, shadier and wetter than the front, so home to a different plant set to the more exposed entry area. Poplar hurdles, topiary, parterre hedging and dry-stone walls, all Craig’s work, divide up the spaces and also serve to give the appearance and feel of a much larger space that its actual one acre.


“It really is the culmination of all our experience,” Julie says. “We’ve been running a landscaping business since 1989 and between us we’ve worked in 10 or 12 different nurseries. In fact we met in a nursery. We’ve very similar tastes in that we both favour an English-style garden and we like to grow rare and unusual plants. But I’m more into perennials while Craig’s passion is for conifers and rockery plants.”


The complete story was originally published in Australian Country issue 19.8. Click here to subscribe to our magazine.

Click here for more farm life stories.

Words Kirsty McKenzie
Photography Ken Brass

More Like This

Indoor Lounge & Sofa Collections by Vincent Sheppard

Cotswold Furniture: Indoor Lounge & Sofa Collections by Vincent Sheppard

Timeless design classics: soft lines, amazing seating comfort and a focus on the elegant Lloyd Loom material. Lloyd Loom pieces made […]

Bobbie the Bridestowe Lavender Bear

“Bobbie”, the iconic microwaveable bear from Bridestowe Estate, was created in 2009 in response to market research which showed there was […]

Return to Roots with Janelle Marsden

When Janelle Marsden graduated from high school in Wangaratta and high-tailed it to Melbourne to study architecture, she never imagined she’d […]

Nectre's Australian Made Wood Fire Heaters

Nectre’s Australian Made Wood Fire Heaters

Nectre’s Australian Made Form 2 wood fire has been designed to suit the modern Australian. It is not only clean and […]

Selecting the Right Rose for your garden

Roses – How to select the perfect one for your garden

Roses are a beautiful addition to your garden, easy to grow and remarkably tolerant. However, with a little extra care and attention […]

Move to Myanbah

From Corporate Careers to Country Living: A Family’s Move to Myanbah

Jess and Hamish Webb embarked on a move to Myanbah to raise their three young children in a restored 19th-century homestead.

Tasmanian Family Farm

A Tasmanian Family Farm Built within Generations

Seven generations of the Medwin family have farmed at Black River, Tasmania. Phil and Fiona Medwin are ensuring the tradition continues.

Family business

A Sheep Farm Business Turning Whey into Spirits and More

This Tasmanian-based family has turned their common family business model on its head in pursuit of their values.

Follow Us on Instagram