Clearings: six colonial gardeners and their landscapes.

Clearings: six colonial gardeners and their landscapes. Paul Fox.

Carlton South: Melbourne University Press, 2004. Quarto, illustrations, fine copy in dustwrapper.

Colonial gardens, as microcosms of the issues that faced colonial society, still inform our imaginings. The six gardeners chosen to explore the complexity of the colonial landscape view are Daniel Bunce, William Guilfoyle, William Macarthur, Thomas Lang, Josiah Mitchell and William Fergusson., Clearings create colonial space. They transform landscape. And perhaps nowhere are these transformations clearer than in those spaces of artifice and artificiality, the colonial garden. These gardens, as microcosms of the issues that faced colonial society, still inform our imaginings. The six gardeners chosen to explore the complexity of the colonial landscape view are Daniel Bunce, William Guilfoyle, William Macarthur, Thomas Lang, Josiah Mitchell and William Fergusson. Bunce and Guilfoyle were gardeners; Macarthur and Lang were nurserymen; and Mitchell and Ferguson were involved respectively in agriculture and forestry. The book begins with Daniel Bunce in the 1840s encountering the landscape with Ludwig Leichhardt in Northern Australia, and ends with the Scots gardener turned colonial forester, William Fergusson, standing in a beech forest in the Otways in 1883, not understanding what he is seeing in this temperate rainforest and complaining of the 'lack of variety' in the planting., The book is attractively illustrated, not only with portraits of the six colonial gardeners, but also with nineteenth-century botanical illustrations of plants referred to in the text, thus creating a pictorial nrrative of plant introduction into Australia.

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