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Book Review: The Garden of Ideas

The Garden of Ideas: Four Centuries of Australian Style

By Richard Aitken

This enthralling book is a complete history of Australian garden design, detailing all the events and trends that have influenced gardens here since Europeans arrived. The colonists’ uneasy relationship with ‘The Bush’ is detailed, and it wasn’t until well into the 20th Century that native plants were considered suitable for planting: though people loved Australian flowers, they collected them from the bush rather than cultivating them.

Throughout our garden history, garden design has been influenced by social and cultural change. There were the war years, the influence of European ideas with post-war migration, and lately, the need for designs that follow ecologically sound principles. Aitken deals with all these and singles out many individual gardens for their contribution.

The wonderful illustrations - maps, drawings, garden plans and prints, as well as photographs – add to the pleasure and satisfaction of an hour or two with this book.

(The Miegunyah Press rrp $64.95) 


Text: Libby Cameron

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Author: Libby Cameron