Studying garden history not only gives us insights into different garden styles and how to design a garden, but also their connection with society, culture and the evolution of civilisations.
Our Certificate of Garden History is a professional development course that is ideal anyone who wants to broaden their garden design perspective, from garden designers, landscapers and horticulturalists to hobby gardeners, ground staff at parks and those who work in councils or heritage trust sites.
In this garden history course you will learn about garden evolution, the globilisation of gardens, and the significant influences on design and landscaping. You will also study public and private gardens, the nature of modern garden conservation, and the crucial role of organisations in conserving heritage parks, gardens and anywhere flora is a primary focus. Gain inspiration and vastly expand the scope of possibilities for yourself as a modern garden designer!
Outcomes achieved by undertaking a garden history course include:
- Learning about the development of private gardens
- Exploring the development of public and commercial landscapes
- Studying great gardens and gardeners of the world
- Gaining insights into people who influenced gardens
- Examining the globalisation of gardens
- Understanding the scope and nature of modern garden conservation
- Learning about the role of organisations in garden conservation
History of Australian Gardens
When studying a garden history course, you’ll gain some fascinating insights into some of the great gardens and gardeners of the world. But what are some of the trends and designers who have helped shaped Australian gardens? Some of the most influential periods include:
The Pre-settlement and “Picturesque” Era
Early explorers often described Australian landscapes as being “park-like” and assumed this was their natural state. However, this comparison is often deemed ironic given that English designers were hired in the 1700s to create landscapes in a “picturesque” style that encompassed vistas, waterways and rolling green lawns, and Australian’s First Nations people used fire to manage their landscapes — they burnt out scrubby growth and created grassy areas that were suited to hunting!
The Victorian “Gardenesque” Era
Concerned people might confuse “picturesque” gardens with natural settings, Scottish botanist John Claudius Loudon introduced a garden design theory known as “gardenesque” in 1832. This used exotic plants to highlight man-made elements. In Australia, many of our botanic gardens, including many Melbourne became famous for, encapsulate this style and were built with the gold-rush money of this era. Popular features included rock grottoes, ferneries and conservatories.
Arts and Crafts Era
The Victorian era was often deemed a reflection of man’s dominance on the natural world. However, in the early 1900s, the Arts and Craft era was introduced with an ethos of working with nature. Its key influences were the British Arts and Crafts Movement and an Englishwoman named Gertrude Jekyll, who is credited with inventing perennial borders. It also includes Australian Edna Walling, who designed Melbourne’s Bickleigh Vale garden estate.
Around this time, Marion and Walter Burley Griffin were building another garden-led suburb in Sydney’s Castlecrag with similar Arts and Crafts influences. These were sympathetic to the environment and incorporated only native plants, which echoed the global Garden City movement that began in the UK.
In the mid-30s, Walling hired landscape architect Ellis Stones to build a stone wall for a property she was working on in Heidelberg. Stones was a conservationist, inspired by the bush and sought to bring nature to the cities with his use of native plants. This led to an enduring partnership, and the style was reinforced by others, including Alistair Knox, who is considered to be the pioneer of modern mud brick buildings.
In the 1940s, the Modernist style was introduced to Australia, and was particularly evident in the work of Robin Boyd and Harry Seidler. This style included buildings with rectangular shapes, flat roofs and lots of large windows to enhance views. Garden designers during this period included Grace Fraser, whose work includes the native gardens at the Monash University campus and at Melbourne’s Royal Park.
The 1980s saw the revival of many formal gardens and a host of features including box hedges, white roses, lavender and mondo grass. A firm believer in this style was Paul Bangay, whose interpretation of Renaissance formality softened to include perennials and clipped hedges.
From the 1990s, Post-Modern design has emerged as a landscaping preference. In this style, landscapes and art blur, and features and plants are used to form a “painting”. It can be seen in Andrew Laidlaw’s designs for the renovation of Guilfoyle’s volcano at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne. The style was also adopted by Phillip Johnson in his Chelsea Flower Show-winning display garden that featured native plants, huge rocks, a billabong fed by rainwater, and a waratah-inspired metal sculpture that also housed an art studio.
Plant Conservation in Australia
As you’ll discover in our garden history course, native vegetation is crucial for the health of environments. It controls erosion, reduces land degredation and supports the biodiversity and the agricultural productivity that is central to our cultural identity. Here are thirteen of Australia’s top plant conservation organisations.
- Australian Association of Bush Regenerators – aims to promote the study and practice of bush regeneration and encourages and fosters sound ecological practices of bushland management by qualified people.
- Australian Government Department of the Environment and Water Resources – develops and implements programs, legislation and national policy to conserve and protect Australia’s cultural heritage and natural environment.
- Australian Tree Seed Centre (CSIRO) – collects and supplies high quality seeds from Australia’s woody flora for research purposes.
- Bush Heritage Australia – a national organisation dedicated to acquiring and managing high conservation value private land.
- CSIRO Plant Industry – applies strategic research in the plant sciences to improve natural resource management, develop novel plant products, and promote sustainable and profitable fibre, agri-food and horticultural industries.
- Ecological Society of Australia – a professional organisation that promotes ecological communication and research.
- Florabank – aims to improve the quality and availability of native seed for conservation and revegetation purposes in Australia.
- Greening Australia – works with communities to achieve sustainable water and land resources, primarily through improving vegetation management practices.
- Indigenous Flora and Fauna Association (IFFA) – dedicated to the conservation of indigenous Australian biota.
- Land and Water Australia – a national organisation dedicated to managing and investing in research and development to underpin sustainable resource use and management.
- National Landcare Programme (NLP) – encourages landholders to undertake landcare and related conservation works to sustainably manage natural resources and the environment.
- Natural Heritage Trust – plays a major role in developing natural resource management and sustainable agriculture, as well as protecting our unique biodiversity through the improved management and delivery of resources.
- Threatened Species Network – aims to increase public awareness of and an involvement with the protection and recovery of threatened species and their habitats.
Gain an insightful understanding into the historical evolvement and globilisation of gardens and the crucial role of garden conservation with a garden history course, such as our Certificate of Garden History.