From Gondwana to mid-20th century modern

Bringing multi-disciplinary perspectives to the story of gardens is at the heart of my approach to editing Australian Garden History. I am therefore please to bring readers biologist Tonia Cochran’s account of her team’s work at Inala Jurassic Garden in Tasmania. In collaboration with partners across the world, Inala is striving to preserve Gondwanan plant species.

Exchange of knowledge and, more fundamentally of different understandings of Country and the cosmos, is the motivation for the ground-breaking First Knowledges series edited by Margo Neale of the National Museum of Australia. Landscape architect Craig Burton introduces the series and heritage and horticultural specialist Stuart Read reviews Plants.

April’s cover is an artist’s impression of the gardener on Matthew Flinders’ circumnavigation of Australia. Dot Evans produced this and other watercolours to accompany her article about Good’s work collecting plants and seeds during the expedition.

And then to the 1960s, that decade of big shifts in Australian society. Judy Horton, a horticulturist who worked for many years at Yates, gives us a tour of changes in fashion from dahlias to grevilleas, kerosene tins to plastic plant pots, and nurseries to garden centres. Distinctive were the mid-century modern houses built to blend with their natural environment rather than to ‘beat the Australian landscape into English-style submission’. I love the image of Miss Swane, which sums up the changing times.

Urban planning does not always take enough account of trees, although it should. As John Dwyer makes clear big old trees, like the peppertrees, have tales to tell about how lives were lived in earlier times. Max Nankervis, a retired town planner, shows that planning rules can help to preserve trees, even in the heart of a city.

The 43rd annual conference of the Australian Garden History Society will be held in Ipswich – Tulmur in the Yagara language –from 29 September to 1 October 2023. Jane Lennon, an expert on cultural landscapes, introduces the city that started out as Limestone Hills in the explorers’ minds and is now a vibrant and expanding community taking an interest in its heritage.

Get your copy from 1 April 2023 at

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