A cornucopia of New South Wales garden history        Chris Betteridge

2017 marked the bicentenary of Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens and the 300th anniversary of the birth of Capability Brown. It was fitting that these momentous events were celebrated with somewonderful publications and exhibitions about the philosophy and history of gardens and gardening. Of the books, one of the best is Gardens of history and imagination: growing New South Wales, a collection of ten essays by some of this country’s foremost experts in historical research, landscape architecture, plant ecology, garden history, anthropology, sociology, photography and horticulture.

 

Christina’s garden        Howard Tanner

In 1846 Thomas Sutcliffe Mort purchased a property known as Percyville, on Darling Point. In the late 1980s Thomas Mort’s great great-granddaughter Christina Kennedy saw the opportunity to regain part of her heritage when her husband Trevor and she purchased Horse Island in Tuross Lakes near Bodalla, a beautiful and unusual setting for an envisaged house and garden.

 

The grass trees of Paradise Creek        Maria Hitchcock

A close look at Tom Robert’s painting ‘Bailed Up’ (1895) shows some small shrubby plants in the foreground of the slope behind the stagecoach. These are Xanthorrhoea glauca. Plants growing near Inverell today are believed to be the ones Roberts painted – much larger of course, although the genus is renowned for being a very slow grower (1 cm a year).

 

Larchill: a rediscovered Irish garden        Tim Gatehouse

In Ireland, one of the most significant but least known gardens is to be found only 20 km from Dublin, near the village of Kilcock. Established in the first half of the 18th century and embellished over succeeding decades, Larchill fell into neglect until its cultural significance was recognised by the present owners. Since 1994 they have restored it to the original concept of a ferme ornée (literally, ‘ornamental farm’) within an arcadian landscape. In Australia, one example of ferme ornée is Murndal in the Western District of Victoria, founded by Samuel Pratt Winter in 1837.

 

In Mr Glover’s summer garden        Jeff Brownrigg

Betty Churcher walks with John Glover through a painting of his home and garden at Mills Plain, Van Diemen’s Land.

 

NZ’s Hamilton Gardens        Peter Sergel

How do you develop a really ambitious garden on an old city dump site with hardly any budget in the initial phases? A group of people in Hamilton, New Zealand, have done just that.

 

In memory of an ornamental fountain        John Leslie Dowe

The City Botanic Gardens, Brisbane, has been among the most redeveloped public gardens in

Australia. Although much has been written about the history of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens (now City Botanic Gardens), very little has been published about an impressive ornamental fountain and an associated circle of palms that were removed during redevelopment in 1958.

 

Saving seeds: conserving our natural heritage        Anne Cochrane

Seed banks have a significant role in safeguarding the conservation of plant genetic diversity on which our food security rests. This article describes some of the activities of the Australian Seed Bank Partnership.