Robert Griffin Cooramilla Nursery

The most critical thing for gardeners is plant selection: it's no good having a romantic notion of what you want-they have to be able to survive.

We had to choose plants that would survive here and so we became a specialist nursery. Perennials thrived for me and they grow really well in a cold climate. The plants have to be absolutely frost hardy to survive. We import about three-quarters of the plants we sell.

Robert Griffin started Cooramilla Nursery 16 years ago, turning a hobby into a business. Over time he has noticed the climate becoming drier and harsher and this has influenced plant selection in the nursery
Image courtesy: Elisabeth Edwards

One of the most outstanding plants we have come across in our travels are the euphorbias. Some of the varieties are fantastic. They are good winter plants, they grow and flower through winter and have a cast-iron constitution. A lot come from Spain and the Canary Islands. Hellebores are important for us too. They are fantastic winter plants.

Drought and water restrictions are changing people's ideas about gardens and gardening. People haven't stopped gardening, but they're going for hardier plants that will survive the drier conditions. I'm no longer so concerned with rare or fashionable plants, more with plants that really work in the garden. Many of these are found in grandma's garden, rather than the latest overseas gardening magazine.