In April, on a sunny spring day, I was wandering around the garden of my family in North Yorkshire and enjoying the verdant foliage that you can only get in a place with high rainfall or constant watering. I thought of my own garden in Western Australia, the sand only centimeters below the built up topsoil and the silvery or pale green water-wise plants that survive on brief winter rains and twice weekly reticulation.

When I stopped at the pond, that appeared as a sea of green, a head popped out to look up at me.