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Two must‐see exhibitions sure to bring you to your knees!

Friday, 9 September 2016

Like many passions, gardening can be an absorbing, satisfying and even addictive pursuit capable of stimulating all of our senses! No wonder so many Australians spend endless hours on their knees creating their dream garden.

To celebrate the bicentenary of the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney the State Library is thrilled to be staging two fascinating exhibitions that showcase the rich story of gardens and garden‐making in Australia ‐ Planting Dreams: Shaping Australian Gardens and Grand Garden Designs will open to the public today, 3 September 2016.”

Garden historian and Shaping Australian Gardens curator Richard Aitken trawled through the State Library’s extensive collections and selected 150 rare, beautiful and quirky objects – spanning five centuries – to present the ideas and influences that have shaped the way we make, use, imagine and enjoy our gardens.

“Through the exhibition, we trace the benefits of gardens and garden making back to the 15th century, when the medicinal virtues of ‘canapus’ were being extolled in a rare herbal now held in the Library’s collection,” says Richard.

“Gardens enrich us. They touch on the spiritual by offering a sort of mini paradise and reflect the cultural diversity of our population as it grows and changes.”

Some gardens can make us green with envy! Grand Garden Designs features over 70 extraordinary images of the most magnificent contemporary gardens in NSW, captured by Australia’s leading garden photographers.

The Library commissioned architect and writer Howard Tanner to survey large, innovative gardens in NSW that may have influenced 21st-century landscape design in Australia. A number of these grand private gardens and public landscapes, created since the 1980s, will be on show in Grand Garden Designs, including a famous Vaucluse estate ‘The Hermitage’, remarkable subtropical and mountain gardens in the north of the State, and a major country garden, ‘Garangula’ at Harden.

“The exhibition highlights recent trends including the beautiful use of meadow planting, the Japanese art of cloud pruning, innovative use of sculpture, mass planting of Australian natives, and the concept of borrowed landscapes,” says Howard Tanner.

Download full media release (PDF 442 KB)