“making a garden was not only an act of settlement – it was one of hope, promising productivity and beauty and, in these creative endeavours, establishing a new life and even a new identity.” (Gretchen Poiner)
By Agata Mrva-Montoya
To celebrate the bicentenary of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney University Press has released the much anticipated Gardens of History and Imagination: Growing New South Wales, edited by Gretchen Poiner, an honorary associate in the Department of Anthropology, and Sybil Jack, an honorary associate in the Department of History at the University of Sydney.
The book features ten scholars, members of the Independent Scholars Association (Sybil Jack, Janet George, Gaynor Macdonald, Ailsa McPherson, Colleen Morris, Gretchen Poiner, John Ramsland, Stuart Read, Catherine Rogers and Sue Rosen) exploring the significance of gardens in the history of New South Wales, and is richly illustrated with rarely seen images from the State Library’s Mitchell collections.
The authors explore the role of gardens in health and wellbeing, in social and cultural life, and in attempts to exercise moral control over the state’s citizens. They consider how changing fashions in garden design have reflected shifting economic, cultural and technological conditions. And they tell the stories of individual gardens and the gardeners who made them, from suburban veggie patches to grand country estates.
The book will be launched on 23 June 2016 at the Mitchell Library, the State Library of NSW.