Restoring and recording gardens

The July issue of Australian Garden History begins with two articles from southwest Western Australia: one about the beginnings of caves tourism; the other a peek into an Edna Walling-inspired garden in the Margaret River area. These are a taster for AGHS’s annual conference in Bunbury (18 to 20 October 2024).The lectures (in person or online) are open to all. You can register here:

Restoring and recording gardens is at the heart of the AGHS’s mandate. Delving into the archives (documentary or visual) is an integral part of the process. Liz Chappell and colleagues found traces of the prominent garden designer, Paul Sorensen, in the New England region in diary entries and slide collections. Samuel Doering pored through manufacturing catalogues and ledgers to lay the historical groundwork for a garden restoration at Anlaby in the Barossa Valley. Trevor Pitkin explains how the Victorian branch of AGHS undertook historical research to complement its physical work in an overgrown garden in the Melbourne suburb of Ivanhoe that uncover its 1930 bones.

The visual arts also enhance understanding of the place plants hold in our cultural life, as Glenn Cooke demonstrates in his article about the pandanus. And two new books, reviewed in this issue, celebrate the revival in botanical illustration.

Across the country, the AGHS advocates for the conservation of significant gardens and care for the natural environment so that gardens can flourish. Roslyn Burge spells out the dangers of plastic turf, a material that contains the ‘forever chemicals’ now being detected in urban water supplies. Replacing grass with plastic is not only a health hazard. It also reduces the natural green spaces that provide sanctuary for both wildlife and people in our cities, as well as undermining the historic and aesthetic values of many long-established public parks and gardens.

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