The luscious cover of the April issue shows a magnified image of a spider orchid (Caladenia caudata). The plant is a threatened species endemic to Tasmania. Much of its habitat has been lost through historical clearing. The photograph was taken by Deborah Wace, an artist and ecological activist, who has been inspired by the 18th-century naturalist, JJH Labillardière. Her article explains why. Wace will be a speaker at the Australian Garden History Society’s annual conference in Hobart in November. Registrations open on
2 May. Tasmania is also the site of many significant colonial estates. These are presented in a new book by Richard Allen and Kimbal Baker, Great Properties of Tasmania (The Miegunyah Press) reviewed by the Tasmanian conference convenor, Prue Slatyer.
Other articles too show the transcontinental influences on gardening in Australia. Margaret Phillips, curator at the Charles Sturt Memorial Trust in South Australia, reveals Sturt’s horticultural side; he had seeds shipped across the seas for his Australian gardens. John Dowe and Boris Schlumpberger introduce the Wendlands of Hannover, who produced taxonomies of New Holland wattles. Glenn Cooke traces the history of the pineapple brought to Australia on the First Fleet, and John Dwyer, a regular contributor on weeds, writes about the agapanthus, a native of South Africa. Julie Campbell shows how the ideas of the English gardener, Gertrude Jekyll, and others permeated Australian garden design, and inspired other women to design, build and write about gardens. Stuart Macpherson reviews a history of arboriculture, also influenced by foreign ideas and fashions.
Many of the names appearing in this issue can be found in the Oxford Companion to Australian Gardens, published 20 years ago. Its co-editor, Richard Aitken’s reflects on the gargantuan task of compiling the book’s many threads.
Australian Garden History is the quarterly journal of the Australian Garden History Society (AGHS). For a digital copy of the journal or to arrange an interview with any of the journal’s authors, contact Francesca Beddie, firstname.lastname@example.org or 0418 645 181.
The mission of the Australian Garden History Society is to promote awareness and conservation of significant gardens and cultural landscapes.