Thursday, 8 April 2010

Down to earth down under

Australian Country Gardens
Trisha Dixon
National Library of Australia

One of my passions in life is gardening and to find a gardening book in the Official Publications Collection is surprisingly not that unusual as I demonstrated with the spring exhibition. However, this book has just arrived from the National Library of Australia and it is an exquisite, picturesque book.
The author has chosen 25 gardens in Australia and has linked writers, poets and artists to the landscapes and gardens. Each garden is accompanied by anecdotes and biographies.
I think from looking through the book my favourite garden would have to be Frensham, Mittagong, New south Wales.
Winifred West writes The happiness which comes to us here should be expressed in our lives, not only in the making of gardens and the planting of avenues, not only in buildings of bricks and mortar, but also in the building of the spirit.
Winifred West was brought up in the late Victorian England, she was deeply involved in the philosophy of education. She was a highly intellectual woman at the time when university degrees were not conferred on women. In 1907 she travelled to Australia on board the Runic in the company of members of Shackleton’s first Antarctic expedition. In 1913 she set up a boarding school for girls at Frensham, the teaching of the girls was to nurture, stretch their potential to the limit and broaden the mind, to let them grow in a happy, unrestrained atmosphere and beautiful surroundings.
The garden is the manifestation of her cultural ideas, her love of nature, of the spiritual world and of plants, and her desire to create beauty. Trisha Dixon describes part of the bricked garden, a secret place hidden from the school by overgrown hawthorn hedges as a scene from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden.
I wonder out of the 25 gardens in this book which would strike a chord with you.

All their memories can be found in the National Library of Australia which is the grand caretaker of the national memory.

1 comment:

Jan Usher said...

Great - glad to see someone blogged about this lovely item.