This was the question Jane Lennon posed in Australian Garden History 31 (4) April 2020, just as we were emerging from Black Summer. She also asked how AGHS members could assist in preserving historic gardens and other cultural landscapes, as well as keeping our roadside trees alive now we are entering a new phase with increasing days of high temperatures and extremes events?
Some of the actions she suggested were to:
- assess our most historic gardens to check their condition and apply different levels of care to ensure their continuation. At the AGHS branch and local level, this might involve identifying a list of historic gardens, willing owners and working bee members with the ability to undertake works to preserve those gardens
- mount a campaign to make sure mature trees are watered and public gardens are maintained during droughts, especially as they provide refuge and solace to those who cannot keep their own gardens flourishing
- encourage research in universities into the multidisciplinary aspects of historic gardens
- remember that historic gardens are part of our nation’s heritage.
Just as we are learning to care for country, we need to remember that gardens are not only works of art and design, showing the ebb and flow of fashion and taste over the decades, but also repositories of rare old plants and evidence of our evolving attitudes to our climate and soils and how we live in Australia.