Reinterpreting Glover's garden

Mau, B 2013, Reinterpreting Glover's garden, Masters by Research, Art, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Reinterpreting Glover's garden
Author(s) Mau, B
Year 2013
Abstract Reinterpreting Glover’s Garden is a research project identifying the Kilmore region’s indigenous flora, and developing an artist’s garden incorporating the extant species. The resultant garden follows colonial design principles and reinterprets the layout of John Glover’s garden in Tasmania.

John Glover selected Mills’ Plains, Tasmania, as his principle place of residence in 1832, and amongst other activities established an artist’s garden. This was possibly the first substantive garden in the Colony consciously designed by a person with recognised artistic sensibilities. It is the north-south orientation of Glover’s garden plan that underpins the layout of the Quarry Ridge garden. Colonial garden design incorporated introduced species, separated from indigenous plants, in a naturalised setting. The ‘colonial’ garden at Quarry Ridge has been exclusively planted with the indigenous flora of the region. By doing this, I hope to offer a more sustainable horticultural model for domestic gardeners. The trope of putting order into indigenous planting practices is a strategy to challenge those who are accustomed to formal gardens using introduced plants.

There are four garden spaces on the project site. The highest follows John Glover’s north-south garden orientation, overlaid with a formal colonial inspired layout. The garden overlooks a further three informal, indigenous planted series of Hill Gardens below. Land contours flow in long sweeping lines running north to south, in harmony with distant ranges on the horizon, close by vineyard rows and defining windbreaks of Leyland Cyprus. It was important to keep these existing linear contours in order to retain the series of modulating planes, visually moving from garden space to landscape, to horizon, from intimacy to infinity.
Three questions underpin this research:
1. How can colonial garden design be re-employed in a contemporary context to raise awareness of indigenous landscape loss?
2. How can I use knowledge of flora loss in the Kilmore region to reinstate a local indigenous habitat in the context of an artist garden?
3. How can I bring knowledge of site-sensitivity concepts in art practice to my artist’s garden?

The following strategies were employed to achieve the project objectives:
- Reinterpreting Colonial garden design to establish an indigenous garden at Quarry Ridge, Kilmore.
- Identifying Kilmore’s indigenous plants, collecting seed, propagation, and documenting the process of creating a site-sensitive garden appropriate to the Kilmore environs.
- Expanding the understanding and appreciation of Kilmore’s indigenous plants, their ongoing importance to the health and well being of indigenous fauna, and the importance of a sustainable indigenous ecological system
- Developing strategies to link new site-specific knowledge with existing artistic debate and practice surrounding global ecological change.
Degree Masters by Research
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Art
Keyword(s) John Glover
Colonial garden design
Indigenous flora
artist's garden
Indigenous ecosystems
sustainable gardens
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Created: Wed, 04 Jun 2014, 09:06:49 EST by Denise Paciocco
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