This morning I was just about to start work, but I popped down into the kitchen to get a glass of water first. Our kitchen – just as it did back in the UK – has patio doors that open on to the back garden, and I could see that the light was just beginning to filter through the trees and bushes on the eastern side of the garden, setting the autumn colours aglow. I couldn’t resist grabbing a roll of Ektar and taking some shots on my Contax. Film photography is one of the ways I connect with my environment, and exploring my new garden with my camera in my hand – noticing the way the light works, finding beautiful little spots to appreciate – was such a lovely experience. When the first sunlight hits damp surfaces, huge swirling plumes of steam drift out into the air and the light filtering through the orange leaves is soft and colourful all at once. Our new garden is a truly beautiful place, and I love it so much already. I can feel the haven that it will become for us, and when we stepped into it on a blazing hot August day when we were looking round it on our first viewing, it was the main feature that drew me to the house and made it feel right. The sun was beating down and there were flowers, birds and butterflies – and a lush blue-green soaring mountain behind! I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was so incredibly gorgeous, and it was hard to believe that it might be ours. Despite this, I miss our old garden. It too was a beautiful and peaceful little place, and my husband Christian and I created it. The house was new when we bought it, and the garden was bare earth. Over the years we planned, planted and cared. Christian built the deck and pergola with his dad, and his mum helped tend the trees. Our families came to visit and we had barbecues in it. My parents bought us an Acer that took pride of place in the corner and grew strong and dazzlingly beautiful. Christian and I sat together watching the breeze ruffle the leaves, talking or reading or just looking. We held our wedding reception in it. We watched the shrubs and trees grow taller and stronger. I sat out most mornings before the day began, to drink a cup of tea and feel the peace and calm. More and more birds visited over the years as we put out food for them. Bees came. Flowers grew, all chosen and planted by us. It’s that connection – borne out of so much ‘hands on’ contact, time and ever-changing experiences – that I’m looking forward to developing with our new garden. I think that our old home felt so much like home because it was infused with our spirit and that of our loved ones, and that as we settle and grow here, welcome visitors and create happy memories in it together, so too will our new home become our special place of contentment and serenity once more, as it is already starting to be.