Tara Edmondson interviewed 22 March 2022 by Jean Elder
Tara Edmondson spent her childhood exploring and observing the coastal environment and bushland around Triabunna, Tasmania. Living in a setting where family and friends were creating and maintaining gardens, Tara knew from an early age that she wanted to pursue a career in horticulture.
Tara’s first experience in the horticultural industry was at a local wholesale nursery. In 2000 she began an apprenticeship with the Hobart City Council while undertaking part-time studies in land conservation management and Tasmanian native plants. In 2004 she was appointed the first female gardener at Government House Hobart, and in 2019 Tara was promoted to Estate Gardens Manager.
Her roles have been diverse. She was initially responsible for the Estate’s production spaces, including vegetable and cut flower gardens, and the redevelopment of the Quarry Pond gardens. Later projects have included upgrading of old irrigation systems and ensuring appropriate protection for over 400 mature trees throughout the gardens. Of particular interest, in 2016 Tara was instrumental in the design of an imagined 18th century French vegetable garden created by Felix Lahaye at Recherche Bay, Tasmania. This garden also incorporates native flora to acknowledge interactions between the early French explorers and the local Aboriginal community.
Tara’s role today ensures that the nationally significant and unique heritage listed gardens of Government House Estate are prepared for an already changing climate. Her interview gives an insight into the challenges of maintaining and progressing this spectacular garden. Today the public are actively invited to attend tours and lectures about the formal and informal gardens at Government House.
The contrasting roles in managing these gardens and her own small domestic 20th century Modernist garden, and her active involvement in promoting garden tourism through Blooming Tasmania brings fulfilment to Tara Edmondson’s life.