Garden reading…

The Garden State

By Richard Allen and Photography by Kimbal Baker

From the red soil of the Mallee to the lush hills of the Dandenongs, this is a comprehensive  survey of the best private gardens across one of the most diverse Australian topographies. 

‘The Garden State’ moniker is no exaggeration. Victoria’s rich soil, temperate climate and regular  rainfall mean that with passion, patience, imagination and commitment, a surprising variety of  amazing gardens can be built and maintained. 

The Garden State positions the stately old wonders of the Grampians and Mount Macedon gardens,  replete with hundred-year-old trees and grand houses, alongside newer, adaptive and exciting  gardens that have been built up over the last twenty years. Eschewing the grandeur and European  trappings of many of their 19th- and 20th-century forbears, these newer gardens often focus instead  on sustainability, climate-compatibility and the use of native plants. In Mildura, for example, an  eccentric desert garden appears like an oasis in the landscape, and deep in the Barabool Hills, a  Sean Godsell house becomes a seamless part of the dry-garden planting. 

Chapters cover a range of garden types, including Rural Estates, Hill Stations, Climate Conscious  gardens, Coastal Retreats and Old Curiosities, encompassing the history of each garden, how it  works within the landscape and what measures have been taken to adjust to or cope with changing  environmental conditions. 

Photographed across the seasons, The Garden State showcases twenty-four of Victoria’s finest  private gardens, highlighting the diversity of regional Victoria and celebrating the outstanding  gardens therein. 

Author info 

Richard Allen has been a writer for more than thirty years and has written on a wide variety of  subjects for The Australian Financial Review, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, Good  Weekend, Sunday Telegraph (UK) and BRW. Together, Richard and Kim have collaborated on  several books, including Australia’s Remarkable Trees and Great Properties of Country Victoria:  The Western District’s Golden Age. 

Kimbal Baker is a freelance photographer with more than forty years’ experience. He has  worked as a staff photographer for the Australian Consolidated Press and has freelanced for  Agence France-Presse. He has been the principal photographer for numerous books on golf  courses, as well as for Australia’s Remarkable Trees, Great Properties of Country Victoria, Grand  Melbourne Gardens and, most recently, Australia’s First Families of Wine.

Adelaide Hills Gardens

By Christine McCabe and Photography by Simon Griffiths

A good garden rejuvenates and inspires in equal measure, and few places in Australia offer a richer crop of great gardens than the Adelaide Hills.

The Adelaide Hills charts the evolution of gardening in Australia. And though anchored
deeply in history, many of its gardens have their sights set firmly on the future.

Old oak, elm and ash trees, planted long ago after memories of English gardens, live alongside stringybark eucalypts and native bush gullies, fruit-bearing orchards and wineries. All have thrived on the region’s good rainfall, cool climate and natural springs.

Over time, the Hills has weathered storms, droughts and fires. In response to these changing conditions, gardens, too, have changed. Heavily forested slopes have, in many cases, given way to veggie patches, free-ranging chickens and sheep, while Victorian rose and rhododendron hordes have made room for climate-compatible native flora.

Encompassing twenty gardens, taking in grand Victorian estates and repurposed municipal water tanks alike, with evocative stories by Christine McCabe and sublime photography by Simon Griffiths, this book is a testament to the power of gardens to adapt, delight and restore.

Christine McCabe is a passionate gardener and highly regarded travel writer for The Australian.
She lives in the Adelaide Hills with her husband and two sons.

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