Looking back over 2020, we cannot forget the devastation of last year’s bushfires and the effects of climate change on Australian landscapes. AGHS patron Tim Entwisle argues in the guest editorial that, while we must defend and conserve important garden landscapes, we must also accept that these are not static.

Richard Stringer – Capturing the landscape              Howard Tanner
Richard Stringer, an admirer of the work of Harold Cazneaux and Max Dupain, is undoubtedly one of the finest black and white photographers working in Australia over the past five decades. His photographic images capture the very essence of special landscapes and, in particular, gardens. In recent years, with technology moving in new directions, he has embraced digital photography and a greater use of colour. This article celebrates Richard Stringer’s classic black and white garden images from the 1970s and 1980s.

Indigenous garden spaces for education             Poppy Fitzpatrick
Ngarrindjeri elder, Major ‘Moogy’ Sumner, believes the ancient ideas and practices of First Nations people should be passed on to new generations. Such wisdom could cultivate more sustainable management of Australia’s abundant natural resources, he says. ‘People are wanting to separate Aboriginal and non‑Aboriginal people all the time, but we live in this country together now. We should take care of it together.’
Poppy Fitzpatrick combines these two themes in her article about initiatives in South Australian primary schools, where First Nations children and the wider school community are developing a deeper cultural and historical understanding of Aboriginal knowledge.

‘Wanted – Chinaman Gardener; First class wages – references required’            Sandi Robb
With internal borders reopening after the COVID-19 restrictions, why not pack your bags and venture into the wide-open space of outback Queensland? If you do, you will wonder at just how anyone could manage to start a garden there, let alone cultivate enough produce to feed a family all year round. Indeed, when early settlers first ventured out west, they were faced with a semi-arid environment of gibber stones, dust, unfamiliar seasons, and a constant shortage of water. This made gardening an everyday battle against heat, pests and crop failure. That is, until Chinese gardeners arrived.
Sandi Robb shows how Chinese market gardeners used water and manure to grow vegetables in colonial outback Queensland.

Mothers and babies, plants and seeds – Truby King’s Wellington garden            Clare Gleeson
High on a hill overlooking Wellington harbour a mausoleum sits in a garden, the final home for one of New Zealand’s most famous sons and his wife, Isabella. Sir Frederic Truby King was the first New Zealander to have a state funeral, yet it took an Act of Parliament to give him the right to be buried in the hilltop garden he had created on Mt Melrose overlooking the Eastern Bays out to the Hutt Valley.
The founder of the Karitane movement created a beautiful place for people, including from the nearby hospital, to stroll.

Red valerian (Centranthus ruber [L.] DC)            John Dwyer
Despite the name, red valerian comes in pink-magenta and white flowers as well as a deep red. It is an erect perennial herb growing to 70 centimetres high, with green leaves that are oval to lance‑shaped and sometimes toothed, five to 12 centimetres long. It has a cluster of small tubular flowers, which have a corolla five millimetres wide and eight to 10 millimetres long and a pointed spur a further three to four millimetres long with a solitary protruding stamen. The fruit is a dry, one‑seeded achene with a feathery pappus, enabling dispersal by wind.
Since early white settlement, Australia has imported plants and know-how. John Dwyer traces the history of the use of red valerian.

Notes from a global warming garden            Susan Marsden
In gardens across the continent thousands upon thousands of people are handling the effects of climate change, helping to mitigate its impact and maintain the liveability of our cities. These notes are drawn from my diary entries and conversations recording our efforts over 15 years to adapt to the climate crisis in our own suburban garden and creek line. My partner Michael Szwarcbord and I are experienced gardeners but have had to learn to adapt to the micro-climate and soils in our own locality and to address the impact of climate change.

For the bookshelf – How good are gardens?            Anne Claoue-Long
The 2020 COVID-19 restrictions stimulated a growing appreciation for green space and nature. Gardens are the most accessible form of engagement with nature, especially in the urban areas now home to most Australians in our increasingly built-up and digital world. Gardens can also be powerful agents for wellbeing, not only to solve the restlessness of lockdown ‘cabin fever’ but to improve our physical and mental health in many ways.

For the bookshelf – Victor Steffensen, Fire Country: How Indigenous Fire Management Could Help Save Australia            Ian Hoskins
One positive development from the Black Summer is a heightened appreciation of the need to learn more from Indigenous land management practices. Sydney historian, Ian Hoskins, reviews Victor Steffensen’s book, Fire Country: How Indigenous Fire Management Could Help Save Australia, pointing also to other important environmental histories.
Hardie Grant Travel, Melbourne 2020

Broughton Hall: 150 years of garden therapy            Roslyn Burge
Greening Sydney is a priority for the NSW government and, during the pandemic, communities have discovered anew the benefits of recreation in nature. A multiplicity of plans 1 include a Landscape Structure Plan for Callan Park that would see the demolition of almost two dozen buildings to create more green open space. Long described as the ‘lungs of the inner west’ the community has fought hard since 1989 to prevent the sale of Callan Park and to preserve the adjoining Broughton Hall and its garden. Identified by the AGHS as a Landscape at Risk, Broughton Hall is also a Remarkable Garden with a rich history of providing psychiatric care amidst greenery. Constant vigilance is required to retain these great sites. The Society’s advocacy has helped.

Profile: Lynne Paul, Chair – Editorial Advisory Board            Lynne Paul

AGHS National Oral History Collection: Max Bourke, AM            Roslyn Burge

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