Perth octogenarian visits his one-time home in Leura

In the early 1950s, Roy Simpson worked and lived with renowned landscape gardener, Paul Sorensen.

Roy Simpson accepts a gift of a book from Sorensens nursery owner, John Klugt.

Roy Simpson accepts a gift of a book from Sorensens nursery owner, John Klugt.

The young British orphan, who had been sent to Australia after the war, studied landscaping with one of Sorensen's sons, Ib, and lived at the family home in Leura.

So on a recent trip down memory lane, back to the Mountains, the 88-year-old Perth man made sure to visit his long-ago home.

He was delighted to find the Sorensen's Glasshouse and Nursery, run by John Klugt and Alexandra Munro, and see the old nursery gardens which have been lovingly restored.

Mr Simpson's son-in-law, Ray Bayliss, who accompanied him on the trip, said his father-in-law had parlayed what he learnt from the Sorensens then into a lifelong career as a landscape gardener.

"Roy only worked for them for three years yet it clearly had a big impact on him," said Mr Bayliss.

The new owners were pretty excited that "someone from that era who knew Sorensen personally was visiting", Mr Bayliss said.

Ms Munro and Mr Klugt happily showed Mr Simpson around the gardens and then through the house, where he once slept on the verandah - in both summer and winter.

Mr Bayliss said: "It was really quite emotional for Roy because he lived there all those years ago. It was a joy to stand and watch - it was almost like a reunion for Roy to reconnect with that part of his past life."

Then Mr Simpson had a surprise for all. Unknown to Ms Munro and Mr Klugt, when each of his children was born, Paul Sorensen carved their name and date of birth into the stones used to retain one of the garden beds.

Amazingly, the stones are still there and the carvings still visible.

Before Mr Simpson left, Mr Klugt presented him with his treasured copy of the book Australia's Master Gardener, Paul Sorensen and His Gardens.

"It was such a lovely gesture," said Mr Bayliss.

Sorensen, the famous Danish-born landscape gardener who had such an impact on Blue Mountains gardens, established the nursery in 1920.

He planted hundreds of cool climate trees in the arboretum, which was designed to give customers an idea of what mature specimens would look like. The nursery finally closed in 1989, six years after Sorensen's death.

Ms Munro and Mr Klugt have transformed the old nursery into a beautiful cafe/shop and have employed a groundsman to restore the beautiful gardens where the master plantsman once plied his trade.